by Kevin Pritchett on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 12:52pm

Memphis District Commander signs FONSI for Birds Point –

New Madrid Floodway clearing the way for levee reconstruction

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 12, 2011 – Col. Vernie L. Reichling, Commander of the U.S. Army

Corps of Engineers’ Memphis District, today signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the

Environmental Assessment (EA) on levee repairs at the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway. This action

clears the way for work to proceed at the center crevasse restoring it to an interim level of 51 feet on the

Cairo, Ill., gage by Nov. 30, 2011. It also provides clearance for restoring the levee to its original preflood

elevation of 62.5 feet on the Cairo gage.

THE FOLLOWING IS A MUST READ…if you want to be in the know…


STATUS of Corps repair works on Levee(s): $4.3 mil expended to date….


Doing due diligence on the follow-up to the BIRDS POINT NEW MADRID FLOODWAY (BPNMF) saga…


The reading on the Ohio River gauge at Cairo, Illinois Sept. 12, 2011.

THE CORPS MUST get that levee to 51 foot at Birds Point quickly. With the rainy fall season set to commence in the near future, that level of safety, security MUST be completed or the water will run back into the BPNMF….

This past weekend, on my return visit from Reelfoot Lake, revealed a few interesting items…; most of the ground in the BPNMF is growing crops, although, the areas where major damage was done to the ground is not under cultivation….; that which is, just doesn’t have the same look/feel to it…

It may just be me, but there is a different aura around the area; like something devastating occurred here…; the lasting impact of the activation is palpable in the region….; from the visual evidence to the much less discussed fallout from the record flood of 2011….and how that will effect the future of the farmers of the land…


BROTHER'S...Sept. 10, 2011

April 30, 2011

SEPT. 10, 2011


This above image is near where the third activation occurred; now known as the middle crevasse; Largely ineffective to many, the Corps asserts pressure was taken off Hickman levee with the activation that flooded the Wallace Family’s ground; brought sand into Big Oak Tree State Park and created an even larger Blue Hole than the one originally created by the activation of the BPNMF in 1937.

#Sept. 5 video from Aaron Wallace


***Important update:http://www.semissourian.com/story/1758762.html

***Above article written by Scott Moyers superb reporter for SEMissourian who has been at ground zero chronicling the saga of the activation of the BPNMF.


Petition began by Aaron Wallace. Generational farmer of land flooded by the activation of the BPNMF.

http://www.youtube.com/aaronvalleytrees – And now, Lester Goodin.

The following is the USACE Public Notice.


Recording from meeting Aug. 30 with Missouri U.S. Senator Blunt.


*(Editor’s Note): This is the link on the Kp Chronicle that will document what I know of the saga of the activation of the Birds Points New Madrid Floodway. An epic colossal nightmare we all lived thru and never want to do so again. The chronicling of the event will be done so on a continuing basis as the rebuilding of the levees is ongoing. Obviously, 51 foot would have been a disaster waiting to happen. Lester Goodin’s opening comments at the top of this post were delivered a few days prior to the release of the Public Notice issued by the Corps….

Now, let’s start from the beginning. While lots of blame can be targeted at the Corps for actually activating the project; but let’s be realistic…only the Good Lord knows why the rain began in early April and fell relentlessly upon the worst possible locations for days….; And, I for one, don’t feel real good about laying blame on God.

Would the Mississippi River have topped the front line levee and flooded the BPNMF on its own? Well, that answer is obvious. It did. Near Dirk, documented by photographs. The activation was done based on a revised 1986 project design that was based on the Law of 1928….; Lessons learned from the May 2, 20111 action(s) will now be the model for the future….to be continued…

Beginning with the arrival of the US Army Corps of Engineers on scene; from that fateful first meeting just outside of East Prairie, I felt a sense of ultimate gloom. They – meaning the core of military; civilian and technical support on hand – meant trouble. There weren’t here just for a tour de corn preview.

Lester Goodin won’t let it go. Jo Ann Emerson won’t let it go. Neither should you or I. Part of what I vividly recall is the staining image that remains in my mind…’s eye of a disturbing photograph I took May 4, 2011. During the 2010 Tour de Corn…the festive gala under the shaded canopy of the grand stand of mammoth Oak Tree with riders, volunteers – people – mingling in fellowship contrasts starkly with my next visit to Mt. Level. Then, as I sat in a boat driven by Pete Story I was taken to the front gates of the regal home. There, lying motionless intertwined in the rails on the door steps was a deer…her head titled to the sky seeking her last gasps….mere inches from safety…of the steps that we all need to take to ensure those levees are restored…and with hopes and prayers the activation of a 1986 plan based on the Law of 1928 never happens again. As I said, Lester Goodin is not letting it go….neither is Jo Ann Emerson…; nor the rest of us; those forever changed by the events of May 2, 2011 2204 hours…


There are no words...

May 4, 2011 Water from here to the Prairie....On a bout tour of the floodway courtesy of Mr. Pete Story, whose family has farmed the ground at Wolf Island for generations, what I saw astonished me. I had grown up on these roads; driven them...never had I by boat jumped the levee at Ten Mile Pond and cruise to 34 Corner Blue Hole. Nor do I ever want to have the experience again. Talk about surreal. No, unreal. To look across the fields while using telephone poles as guides and feel as if your were on a lake....sheesh.Tell you something about Pete Story. Instead of selfishly taking me to document his loss; their farms and equipment. It was he who boated to the Mt. Level homestead - and with due warning - took me to the spot where I snapped the shot of the suffered deer. We then traveled across the field making full use of the motor on the and zoomed to a spot where a small number of deer were stranded on a thinlet of ground. Literally miles away from high ground and surrounded by flood waters. Humbling. Sad. Maddening. Then, the next stop - while Pete divulged his proud heritage of growing up down here - was at the base of the levee where the Missouri Department of Conservation had already began trying to get food stuffs to the spooked wildlife herds; flocks...standing on top of the front line levee at this point and looking back on the water that stretched to the Prairie....mind boggling....Wolf Island Post Office



AUG. 31, 2011…

As of now, there has been a plan endorsed by the USACE to rebuild the levee to the original 62.5 level; a temporary fix of 51 ft. is in play now that also that will include sand packed on top of the clay base;

In an article in Monday’s (Aug. 29) SE Missourian, US Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, who has been at the forefront serving her constituents with zeal and effort, is calling for residents effected by the activation of the BPNMF to come forward and write letters to the Corps during the time frame allotted to public comments (deadline: Sept. 6)

..SEMissourian…”The Cape Girardeau Republican urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers not to do it. Then, when it did it anyway, she has asked them to repair it all the way to 62.5 feet. That was how high it was before the corp made the three breaches back in May.The corps has said that can only afford, for now, to construct “temporary” levees to the level of 51 feet. Emerson, and lots of others, are saying that’s not enough. Last week, the corps released its environmental assessment, which is a requirement in light of the endangered least tern birds that had nested at the center crevasse. The assessment asks for public comment. This morning, Emerson encouraged people to let the corps know how they feel. Emerson fired off a news release urging residents, business owners and workers in areas affected by the levee repair to take part during the public comment period. “At every point in the process of levee repair and restoration, the corps needs to hear the voices of people in southern Missouri who depend on the land [in the] floodway for their livelihoods,” Emerson said in the statement. “For some, there is deep meaning in the churches, homes and community structures located in the floodway. For others, they rely on the jobs and income from their land and work. We must take advantage of every opportunity to express the importance of this project.”The draft notice includes a finding of no significant impact from the six proposed repair actions outlined in the document.”

The public notice directs comments to the following address with a deadline of Sept. 6, 2011 need to addressed to Mark Smith; Environmental Compliance Branch; US Army Corps of Engineers; 167 N. Main St., Room B 202; Memphis, TN 38103-1894…

That brings us up to date; Now, back to April 2011.

As far as the blame game goes in respect to the actual activation of the BPNMF: everyone can have their own theory as to who is ultimately the guilty party; Yes, General Michael Walsh gave the order authorized to him based on the Law of 1928; but Gen. Walsh didn’t drop one rain drop onto this earth.

When the rains came and would not stop.

And, factor in the enormous snow melt from a record snowfall in the Winter of 2010; it was the Perfect Storm at the wrong time falling on the wrong places that doomed our county to the waters of the Mississippi. From the moment, I first saw the Corps there was a certain look of concern in their faces I still recall. Now, I know why.

They were faced with an impossible set of circumstances that would leave them liable in front of a Congressional Inquiry if a levee HAD breached somewhere prior to them doing something; anything, especially with authorization by Law to do so.

Combine this with the fact there were two other floodways that (and the corps knew this in April I now believe) were going to be put into operation (Morganza & Bonnet Caret); think of the political fallout in Louisiana; Mississippi if those were put into motion while an option north of them to stop some of that water was not utilized. UnWinning. That’s what the corps faced; faces….

Left: Col. Vernie Reichling; Right; Major General Michael Walsh

Without question, Americans are well represented by men like these in uniform. As I’ve stated on repeated occasions, both of these gentleman took the time to speak with me off the record as well as the multiple press-conferences I covered. Not ducking, or condescending, if one paid attention to what they were saying and how they were saying it you had the feel of being in the room with them. No, they didn’t come right out and say we’re gonna blow it. But, if you had a shred of common sense once that boat filled with liquid slurry began its way up the ole Mighty Mississippi is was ‘ON.’ Yes, it could have been halted I suppose right up until 2359 Hours May 2; But, I’m sure as hell glad there at least was a plan in place. Take a look at the photograph that follows.

That IS the Mississippi River

Since the caption isn’t included so everyone can see without clicking the photo; here it is again, and in real-time. That there you are looking at in the blurry-ish photo is the Mississippi River creeping to the top of the front line levee just west of the spot where the levee begins its southward trek to the other end of the floodway. Meaning, if that water – or levee – had broken where this photo was taken all hell would have broken loose; and that’s only a slight exaggeration. A wall of water would have rushed thru Mississippi County with an almost unimaginable raging current; think this is just speculation on my part. See next exhibit…



  1. #1 by 7kycsa on st30. 020110000005301 - 2:53 AM

    You knew that man, Brother Bennett, would go back…I knew he couldn’t leave it. That area needs to be renamed Brother Bennett Bend!

    • #2 by kpchronicle on st30. 020110000005506 - 2:55 AM

      He is THE Dorena icon…and I think that’s a great idea….

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