The Mississippi river, one of Americas greatest super transport highways has for centuries diverted water to the gulf. Over the course of these years, man has taken it upon himself to try and control this mighty tributary by limiting its reach. The rich fertile farm lands that line the banks along the Mississippi make up the delta system basin.
The treasure that man fights mother nature over, often is a lost cause when heavy rains and snow melt from up north swell and over flow the rivers banks. Man has battled this problem for years trying to tame a river that has taken many lives and homes. The dangers are present with every inch the river rises.
Man has done his best to restrict how much land they want to allow the Mississippi to have. By building levee's and dredging silt from the river, they have tried to channel the river in to a set location with boundaries. Some of the most narrow points of the Mississippi start at St. Louis and fluctuate all the way down to the tributaries of the Gulf of Mexico.
Through the course of the years, the Army Core of Engineers have installed locks to control the water levels in strategic points along the river. When large amounts of water from rain and snow melt happen, they have to open these flood control systems to let the water escape.
The locks serve the purpose of helping shipping along the Mississippi river, but they cause a greater danger in flooding events to the people further south in the Delta basin. With New Orleans being below sea level and sinking two inches a year, the great city is always at the mercy of the Mississippi river.
The biggest danger along the Mississippi is the presence of sand boils. They are hard to spot and can pop up unexpectedly any where along the levee system. Like a clogged drain the sand boils go un noticed until high water causes so much pressure that it blows up through the ground, often by passing the levees and flooding farm lands and cities.
With the restrictions man has put on the Mississippi river delta basin. The flood waters can not disperse in to wider areas and that is where the danger comes from. Water levels increase from the over abundance of rain and snow run off and all rivers and tributaries flow in to the Mississippi.
The snow ball effect can be as bad as a damn bursting and letting loose a sudden torrent of water. Destroying and devastating farms and towns in a short time span. It has the effect of trying to fill a glass, with a high pressured water hose. Water is a tremendous force it will take the course of least resistance and if pressured it will make it's own stress relief.
Mans fight with the mighty Mississippi has been a on going saga for many years. Man has caused the dangers that face towns and cities along the Mississippi river. St. Louis has installed river flood gates to help in case of flooding. Many other small towns do not have the luxury or big money to install this type of protection, so you have levees that are unpredictable and weak.
The river reclaims the old river routes in worst case senarios, even if it has to back up tributaries and rivers to do so. Most flooding and major damage come from the Mississippi's inability to flood tidal plains that are now restricted by the levee system. This is why the river delta basin is in serious trouble.
Like any major artery in the human body. A restricted blood artery can burst or come completelty clogged. The same terms apply to the river systems that cris cross the Earth.