Also while there we had the chance to tour "the levee." This is a multi-million dollar levee system along the Missouri River where my dad, brother, and others farm. This year the levee is holding back record flood waters. Not the highest waters in history, or even recent history, but what promises to be one of the longest lasting floods.
Record rainfalls and release miscalculations upriver have created flooding along the entire river system. Recreational interests compete with farming and flood control in cities. Decisions have to be made over what areas to save, attempt to save or give up on. Already waters have broken through smaller levees where my family farms. Fields planted late due to long and heavy spring rains, just starting to produce, appear to be natural lakes or extensions of the river.
The biggest threat in the levee system dad and Aaron farm in is from sand voles and other creatures that like to burrow into the levees. Day in and out, farmers scan the length of the levee for signs of damage to the earthen mound that separates them from total losses. When a lighter sand colored spot is discovered, they rush to begin the process of sandbagging the area, slowly and carefully piling them in order to collapse the burrow. Upriver there's been a break already so the National Guard is there and a twisted form of relief in an outlet for the river creates hope downstream.
In anticipation of a summer of high, unrelenting water levels made by continual water releases from reservoirs upstream, "it is only a matter of time before there's a break," they breath. My brother, along with others that have the means, has moved his entire family to higher ground. My sister-in-law swears she will never return, will never go through this again. Others wait, precious items stored at the ready to move quickly.
While I wax nostalgically about the 4th and all the comforts and serenity of a holiday "at home." While others salivate at the "downhominess" of my stories, farmers and bottom dwellers stew in an exhausting broth of anticipated disaster. There are so many advantages to being an urban "farmer."
Posted by Maria at 8:58 AM