Missouri River Farmland Flooded by Sand

Yahoo News right now is carrying this story at the top of its list: “Feet of sand leave farms wasteland after flooding.” It’s a horrible story. I grew up in farm country. Say what you will about farm subsidies, many of the farm families I grew up around were some of the most decent, hard working, friendly people I have ever met or known.

I’d like to know the how and why behind this story. The Missouri River is heavily controlled and channelized, and has not run its natural channel for who knows how many decades. My guess is that the sand was trapped behind upstream control dams and was flushed downstream by a river overflowing with flood and snowmelt water. I know that the Missouri once followed a wide, meandering course across massive floodplains. The channel has been constricted and controlled for flood control and barge use for a long, long time. Tomorrow I’ll try and read up a bit on this and see if the natural resource/farm agency experts in the midwest have anything to add about the causes behind this catastrophe for some of our midwestern farmers.

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