FUTURE OF THE LEVEE
Because so many factors affecting its operations changed as the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board moved into the 1990s, the board set out to establish a plan to most effectively accomplish the constitutionally mandated goals for which it was established.
To compensate for an anticipated decrease in federal flood protection, the main thrust of the YMD Levee Board must be to increase both the financial and physical resources available to it.
Consequently, the long range plan contains four major points of emphasis:
For more than 40 years, the YMD Levee Board has maintained a sufficient and nearly constant fund for flood fighting and other emergency purposes. Additionally, if the YMD Levee Board is to assume an expanded role in such emergencies resulting from the downsizing of the federal government, additional increases to the fund are justified to accommodate the potentially greater expense. The long-range plan provides money to gradually increase the Flood Reserve.
In any flood emergency, the ability of the YMD Levee Board to prevent catastrophic failure and consequent damage to the Delta depends heavily upon the availability of sufficient physical resources to cope with the emergency. Expanded and emergency capabilities, as well as enhanced maintenance and improvements, can only be accomplished through increased levels of competent, career-oriented staff.
In view of the dramatic reduction of traditionally available manpower, an aggressive plan for modernization of the YMD Levee Board's physical equipment has been established to allow the accomplishment of the enormous physical tasks associated with a serious flood emergency using the least amount of manpower.
The plan underscores the importance and necessity of maintaining an adequate, well-trained force of full-time staff to form the nucleus of a flood fighting organization and provides for an investment in additional staff and equipment.
To improve the ability of the mainline levee to withstand the stresses imposed upon it by high Mississippi River stages, additional physical improvements will have to be made. These improvements range from enhancement of existing features to construction of more sophisticated counter measures to offset the damaging effects of underseepage. The long-range plan provides money to accomplish these goals.
Enhancement of the ability to safely and quickly evacuate waters from the interior of the Mississippi Delta will be made through physical improvements to those streams and rivers under the sponsorship of the YMD Levee Board.
Examples of such improvements would be the increased control of woody vegetation in the channel streams and accelerating the removal of beaver dams, point bars, and other obstructions which diminish the capacity of streams to carry adequate volumes of water.