Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I told you so

A Revolution 21 tip o' the hat goes to Col. Robert J. Ruch, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Omaha district.

It's not just anyone who can make your Mighty Favog look like a clairvoyant and prophetic Mighty Favog. In other words, I called it, and it was the good colonel who made it so.

I said that the Corps would "blame this mess near Hamburg, Iowa, on the levee having been compromised by damage from beavers or badgers (or something), then say Iowans should have inspected it better."

was coming came to pass this morning in the Omaha World-Herald:
Downtown, a nearly 10-foot pile of dirt and plastic tarp surrounded the Blue Moon Bar & Grill.

The pub's wooden floors and pool table have belonged to Vicki Sjulin and her family since 1972. Dad runs the grill most mornings. Mom works behind the counter.

“It's been the local watering hole for a long time,” Sjulin said Monday. “Now it's just going to be a water hole.”

Sjulin said she planned to keep the business open as long as possible, until the local utility company cuts power. Frustrated residents poured in and out of the bar to discuss the rising water and their plans to escape them.

“People here are angry, and they want to know why we're at the point we're at,” she said. “This is a total man-made flood, in spite of the high snowfall and rain. Everyone's question is, who made these choices?”

Built by the corps in the 1940s, the levee sustained three recent minor breaches before Monday's incident broke a section one mile south of the Iowa-Missouri state line. About two hours after that breach, floodwater broke through a levee farther south in Holt County, Mo. Officials there planned to intentionally breach t
he levee downstream to take pressure off a secondary levee built in recent weeks.

“There is risk behind any levee,'' Ruch said. “That is assumed.''

Monday's rupture, however, was not an indicator of what landowners and residents along the Missouri can expect in coming weeks when higher flows arrive, Ruch said.

Ruch said the levee break came as a surprise because the levee had handled higher water during flooding last year.

He said a hole created by a badger or gopher could have eroded the integrity of the earthen structure.
THUS, the first part of my prognostication has been fulfilled. The second part -- blaming the locals -- will come to pass after the locals start taking sufficient shots at the Corps' "your guess is as good as mine" levees.

And isn't it the case that the badgers and gophers always take the fall whenever something bad happens? If I were a
Wisconsin or Minnesota fan, I would be pissed.

Of course, I am no expert on the levee-eating capabilities of Wisconsin or Minnesota student athletes, or their furry inspirations. But I am pretty sure that gophers, badgers, beavers or muskrats -- not to mention Big 10 linebackers and tackles -- encounter virtually insurmountable difficulties in burrowing through asphalt, concrete or rock armoring on levees.

That, however, would leave the Corps (and the politicians who'd rather spend money on Wall Street and the military-industrial complex than on vital infrastructure) with no one or nothing else to blame when yet another "heck of a job" turns into yet another heck of a mess.

Meantime, I'm still trying to process the irony of George W. Bush coming to town Saturday for the opening of the College World Series.
You think Michael Brown might be available, too?

No comments: