Monday, May 16, 2011

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area - Mississippi River Facts (U.S. National Park Service)

In light of all the media attention the flood of 2011 is receiving, I thought this would give those not as closely acquainted with the Mississippi River watershed a little better understanding of exactly how much water we're talking about. The media can tell us in gallons and cubic feet per minute and volume. But take a look at the facts about the river and this watershed that nearly 50% of the nation is a part of.

"The watershed measures approximately 1.2 million square miles, covering about 40% of the lower 48 states." When you consider how much rain has fallen in the watershed in the last 60 days and that the runoff is all racing toward these major rivers and eventually to the lower Mississippi, it is not surprising at the magnitude of what is happening in the delta region. There is a lot of water coming their way.

I think what is happening is both fascinating and very sad. This is one of the poorest areas of the country. Poverty levels are terrible. Most of these folks will lose every thing they own. Much of their livelihood comes from the river.

Alternatively, I'm a firm believer that nature does what is good for itself, meaning that floods are to be expected and are actually good for the environment. If allowed to flow normally, a new river path would have been carved out long ago and some the the problems the delta has had in recent years would have been avoided and possibly eliminated. It would be a healthier delta, albeit slight different.

Anyway, enjoy learning about this fascinating river. It is no wonder it has been featured in hundreds of stories and films.

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