News | Published:

Mississippi Floods

Nature volume 130, page 470 (24 September 1932) | Download Citation



THE disastrous floods in the Mississippi basin in the spring of 1927 have led to various suggestions for preventing their recurrence. These are critically examined by M. O. Messerly in a paper entitled “Les Travaux de defénse du Mississippi” in Matériaux pour l'etitde des calamités, No. 3, année 1931 (1932). Several of the proposals would probably lead to effective defence, but are not feasible on the score of cost. The construction of reservoirs on the tributary streams would be useful but very expensive. In industrial districts, however, such reservoirs would have a local use, in addition to their protective value. Setting back the embankments along the lower reaches, if done on a large enough scale, would help considerably, but is scarcely practicable. Dredging of the bed would be effective, but only if continuous and on a very large scale. Afforestation might help in checking the flow of rainfall to the rivers, but even vast schemes might afford only small relief. In any case, the effect would not be felt for a generation or more. The most practical measures seem to be the raising and strengthening of the embankments at certain places, the construction of new drainage channels parallel with the main stream, and the straightening of the river in places to facilitate the flow of water.

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing