The Levee



The U.S. shortly became involved in World War I, and non-essential undertakings by the Army and its components came to a sudden halt. It was not until the 1920s that federal participation in levee construction began again on a full scale. In the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District, where levees were already far superior to those in other districts, no federal assistance was forthcoming until after the disastrous flood of 1927.

The Flood Control Act of 1928 included a comprehensive plan for levees, cutoffs, reservoirs, and floodways-all to be built by the Corps of Engineers. Local interests were required to provide rights-of-way, and then to operate and maintain the constructed works.

As the fruits of the 1928 act began to be realized, it became evident that other water, such as local runoff or that backing in at the lower end of the levee systems, greatly reduced the benefits of the primary works. Accordingly, numerous subsequent acts modified and enlarged the original plans.

In the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District, the Yazoo Headwater Project authorized in 1936, the Yazoo Backwater Project authorized in 1941, and the Sunflower Basin Project authorized in 1944 were included in this expanded operation.

The Yazoo Headwater Project provides reservoirs and improvements to the Yazoo-Tallahatchie-Coldwater River systems to carry hill water safely through the Delta to the Mississippi River.

The Yazoo Backwater Project provides a levee, flood gates, and a pump to prevent the water of the Mississippi River and the Yazoo River from backing out on the lower portions of the Mississippi Delta.

The Sunflower River and Tributaries Project provides for improved major drainage for runoff originating within the protected area.

Subsequent flood control acts provided levee enhancements necessary because of experiences of the 1937 and 1973 floods. The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District levee is fully up to authorized grade and section since 1969, due in part to wise decisions and commitment to the task by the Commissioners and staff of the District.