Cover image for Beyond control : the Mississippi River's new channel to the Gulf of Mexico
Beyond control : the Mississippi River's new channel to the Gulf of Mexico
Beyond control : the Mississippi River's new channel to the Gulf of Mexico
Barnett, James F., 1950- author.
Publication Information:
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, [2017]
Physical Description:
xi, 292 pages ; 23 cm.
"Often depicted in popular culture as a timeless, unchanging icon of Middle America, Beyond Control: The Mississippi River's New Channel to the Gulf of Mexico reveals the Mississippi as a river of change, unnaturally confined by ever-larger levees and control structures. During the great flood of 1973, the Mississippi River nearly changed its course for a shorter and steeper path to the sea. Since then, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Control Complex at Old River has kept the Mississippi from jumping out of its historic channel and plunging through the Atchafalaya Basin to the Gulf of Mexico. Such a map-changing reconfiguration of the country's largest river would have national significance as well as disastrous consequences for New Orleans and towns like Morgan City, at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River. Beyond Control traces the history of this phenomenon, beginning with a major channel shift around 3,000 years ago. By the time European colonists began to explore the Lower Mississippi Valley, a unique confluence of waterways had formed where the Red River joined the Mississippi, and the Atchafalaya River flowed out into the Atchafalaya Basin. A series of human alterations to this potentially volatile web of rivers, starting with a bend cutoff in 1831 by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, set the forces in motion for the Mississippi's move into the Atchafalaya Basin. Told against the backdrop of the Lower Mississippi River's impending diversion, the book's chapters chronicle historic floods, rising flood crests, our changing strategy for flood protection, and competing interests in the management of the Old River outlet. Beyond Control is both a history and a close look at an inexorable, natural process happening here in the twenty-first century"--
Introduction -- The language of the river -- River of change -- Trouble the water -- Blessing and curse -- The other side of the flood -- Yet trouble came -- The real crisis -- The warning -- Preparing for uncertainty -- Awaiting the project flood.
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