The 1936 Omnibus Flood Control Act assigned upstream and downstream missions to the Soil Conservation Service and Army Corps of Engineers. Flood control is a flagrant violation of fundamental physics. In addition, the missions of both agencies fly in the face of the natural role of floods in the aquatic environment. The result is as damaging to human development as the development is to the environment. Human inroads on riverine environments are ramified in economic, policy, and political strategies now and in the future. This paper focuses on the social science issues within an environmental science framework. It discusses economic, historical, political, and sustainability issues. The evidence for what is wrong with the seventy-five year old program from environmental and social science viewpoints is overwhelming. A proposed alternative approach would enable and celebrate natural floods, would manage their hydrological values and not attempt to control them.
|Keywords:||Dams, Floods, Floodplain Hydrology, Ecology, Legislation, Benefit-cost Analysis, Economics, Politics, Earmarks|
Professor of Water and Related Land Resources, Emeritus, Department of Forest and natural Resources Management, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, USA
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