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why would the ACE be doing such a stupid thing in the first place? Who asked them to?

This project is over 65 years old, having originated in the Flood Control Act of 1928, and the pumps having been authorized by Congress in 1941. It's a horrible, 19th-century idea; the Yazoo wetlands should serve as an important floodwater buffer for the lower Mississippi delta, a sediment cachement, and a migratory waterfowl staging area. Politically-connected agriculturalists think it would be better turned to soybeans.

The historical answer to your question is Thomas Gregory Dabny

Its supporters over the years have included many prominently-corrupt Mississippi politicians; its most recent political champions have been Trent Lott and Thad Cochran.

Her's the American Rivers Web page on the Yazoo project

The NY Times Op-Ed "Yazoo Boondoggle"

The Yazoo-Mississippi Levee Board's own history of the project

Wow, Joel that's some good information.

shucks. twarn't nuthin'

Here's some good information:
John M. Barry's book Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America treats the history of the Yazoo-Mississippi levee and pumping schemes at length.

Here's an Amazon search for "Yazooo" within the book (hope these links work)

Excellent info. I haven't had much time to research anything the last week or so what with dodging hurricanes every few days (we're waiting for the 4th to hit and the 5th is right behind it, all in the last couple of weeks; they call it "a very active season" but I have other names for it), so I appreciate you filling in the blanks. Sounds fascinating.

I take it you live in that area?

BTW, the links work.

I take it you live in that area?

Nope; I'm an Iowan in career-imposed exile in Silicon Valley.

I became interested in Lower Mississippi River hydro-engineering after reading the "Atchafalaya" section of John McPhee's superb The Control Of Nature; I saw a review of Barry's Rising Tide a couple years back and bought and read it. So when the magic word "Yazoo" came up, I remembered, but I don't have the book close at hand, so I can't quote excerpts.

BTW, the McPhee gets my highest recommendation. And now that Alaska Gov. Palin has burst upon the national political scene, his Alaska book, Coming Into The Country, takes on a new relevance.

oops
Closed tag.

Tag fixed.

McPhee is a great writer, and I don't just say that because he's a distant relative, tho he is. (Second or third cousin, something like that.) Coming into the Country and The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed (a short little book about lighter-than-air travel) are two of my all-time favorite non-fiction books, but his short stuff is wonderful, maybe better. I never read The Control of Nature but now it's on my list.

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