News from the Real World


Pan from ATL Bot Garden

I understand that the US builds flood control barriers for what is at the time of construction (and that this assessment is not regularly adjusted is part of the problem) thought to be a “100-year” flood. Of course, that’s theoretical, but it is a label that provides perspective. I also understand that in Holland they build for 1000-year flood events.

HUGE difference.

Meanwhile, at one earthen levee along the Mississippi River:

Officials spent nearly six hours choking off the leak caused by a muskrat burrowing in the soft ground early Monday.*

Six hours, mind you. Now, I’m not the most knowledgeable at natural history, but a muskrat? This is not an unexpected species (Wikipedia has its range as across the continental US), and its habits are well-known. Will we soon be hearing that we taxpayers must ante up X-gajillion dollars because of ONE MUSKRAT?

This from an AP story in the NYTimes this afternoon, dateline Winfield, Missouri.


  1. marc says:

    The 1,000-year event calculated for here was forced upon the bureaucrats because of the huge 1953 flooding which killed nearly two thousand people. But a report by one engineer had warned earlier for a slightly larger event that could possibly have led to tens or hundreds of thousands killed. The 1953 flooding basically scared them into taking that warning seriously.

  2. Sammy says:

    Ah, yes. Risk-assessment and risk-management differ greatly by individual, corporate group, and even nation-state!