Aug 27 2012

A Few Good Reads (8/27/12): Deficient Sacramento Levees, Stretch of Mississippi River closed, Seven Years After Hurricane Katrina, and the Case for Dam Removal

This week: Sacramento levees fail to meet maintenance criteria, an 11 mile stretch of the Mississippi shutdown, the case for the dam removal, Louisiana seven years after Hurricane Katrina, and the current state of hurricane protection.

Sacramento levees fail federal maintenance criteria (Sacramento Bee)

Levees protecting most of the city of Sacramento and 15 other areas of the Central Valley were declared on Thursday to have failed federal maintenance criteria. As a result, those levees are no longer eligible for federal money to rebuild if damaged in a storm.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the declaration after concluding that a new state plan to improve Central Valley levees does not provide enough detail to ensure that maintenance problems, such as erosion and intruding structures, will be fixed.

11-mile stretch of Mississippi River closed (AP)

The river level in Memphis was minus-8.5 feet on Friday, according to the Corps of Engineers. The “minus” reading does not mean the river is dried up — it’s just a measurement based on how the Memphis river gauge is designed. Essentially, the reading means the river level is far below normal.

The record for the lowest measured water level for the Mississippi River near Memphis is minus-10.7 feet, in 1988. The Corps has said the river is not expected to reach record lows.

Let it Flow – The Case for Dam Removal (Environmental Leader)

Nationally, the number of high-risk dams is increasing.  In its Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s dams a D grade.  It would cost an estimated $16 billion to repair the country’s most critical dams, and additional funding is needed for inspections and enforcement of safety programs.  Lack of funding for dam repair is a significant problem, particularly for privately owned dams.  The responsibility for dam upkeep and repair lies largely with the owners, many of whom cannot afford the costs. Obtaining funding assistance, whether through government or private sources, can be difficult.

New Orleans map - vertical profile

Louisiana – Seven Years After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (AnyGeo)

Hard to believe that it’s been 7 years since Hurricanes Katrina And Rita and get this, during that time FEMA has spent some $19 billion in rebuilding and recovery in Louisiana State. This financial update has been provided by FEMA.

We’re not as safe as we can be from hurricanes (Miami Herald)

An Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) study last December found that, on a 100-point scale, only seven of 18 coastal states scored higher than 80 points when ranked for “strong statewide residential building codes and comprehensive regulatory processes for the building code officials, contractors, and subcontractors, who translate building code requirements into actual homes.” Bottom of the pack? Mississippi, Delaware and Texas.

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