This story is a product of the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk, an independent reporting network based at the University of Missouri in partnership with Report for America, with major funding from the Walton Family Foundation.
Cities and towns across the Mississippi River basin have always needed to weather the environmental disasters associated with living along a river.
The past few years have brought wild fluctuations between flooding and drought, bringing more stress to the communities nestled along the Mississippi’s 2,350 miles.
In the last five years alone, they’ve seen springtime flooding, flash flooding, significant drought, and low river levels, with opposite ends of this spectrum sometimes occurring in the same calendar year.
“When these rivers have disasters, the disaster doesn’t stay in the river,” said Colin Wellenkamp, executive director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. “It damages a lot of businesses, homes, sidewalks, and streets; e... Read more