Some people who live along the Mississippi River are willing to do anything to keep their homes and farms safe from flooding – even if it means inundating their own neighbors. This week, we team up with ProPublica to investigate how rising waters have set off a race to build the highest levee.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey. It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now, for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore we
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Our eggs. This is reveal analogy. We started this week show on the brink. Should I be nervous here? The add that reveal reporter Patchett Michael's, he standing on the edge of a giant sand pit in the mist
Phoebe River valleys. I wouldn't get within three thought: Patrick's guy with easy, laugh, withstand lumber local farm,
Also standing on the sandy rim is reveals cabin viscosity. What happens if you
I envy hard to get out Broadway.
It means a walk in the trenches funded. It is about thirty feet deep and it's about to give deepen. Our reporters are surrounded by some
the most valuable farmland in Illinois, enormous fields of corn and soybeans
but the Lynne wouldn't be worth nearly as much without all the sand. This is a science I we had about three or four different sand sites. Waiting next to the trench is a huge
Machine called tracker? It has a single long arm with scoop on the in here comes a doctor
favouring the thief and action here, oil out he's your fellow all that seed is hidden to a war that stretches more than fifty miles along the river
I take it down, earn and back apsidal living dump it in and we ve got
Outsiders over there, too.
the levy their working on is one of the longest in the country. The sand,
make it stronger better able to resist the mighty Mississippi without that wall. This land would be a swamp
when really Thursday, that farming and related needs related just keeps the war keeping the water out. That's we're talking about today, who gets flooded, is protected
last year's storms cause more than two hundred billion dollars and damage both in any you before thinks of crime.
Change a lovely arrangement falling on the country, especially in the MID West, without water pours into
Mississippi River, so with our
There is at the nonprofit newsroom pro public up. We ve been looking at,
levies that protect us from floods. Are they make in a safer or not reveals patch, Michael's and Catherine Scouts? He went to the Mississippi to get their feet. What the farmland here is car,
out of the Mississippi floodplain. That's the low lying land beside the river when we visited Dan this spring, the Mississippi was running high, but the levy was easily holding it back.
Twenty five years ago was the last time the river touch this land there used to be
breakers of timber in there, and I mean big trees and with cottonwoods narrowing it killed every tree. Emmett airily remains landscape. Do while ads,
anybody who came down here, for
three. They would recognize it now the grave.
I do not think we are beginning to look like the wars. Oh that's Tom broke out reporting for NBC Nightly news President put forth the devastated areas. Stand shows us the scrap book. From that time we all
newspaper clapping other papers, the first page of your scrap verses. Let us say it is only the beginning of that year.
Flooding in the Midwest started in the spring and lasted clear into the fall? The whole region was locked in an epic fled fight and the water was
winning along the Mississippi the high waters and putting a very heavy strain on levies day after day week after week, today, some of them broke under heavy pressure. Local residents defended the levy.
The protected their homes and Land Dan was a part of it. His
armies in the snow Levy District, the agency responsible,
for maintaining the levies and several communities and its where the fight went on for weeks with the water cresting and receding throughout the Midwest. Hundreds of levies were failing and finally, the snake.
Number was up. The biggest break was near Quincy Illinois, where they snipe levy, opened up, forcing rapid evacuations into communities. The brake occurred for workers trying to reinforce it, had declined, trees to avoid being swept away.
That's. Word broke in ninety three dance showing us where the levy failed.
When they heard the bad news. He knew exactly what it meant for him and his three brothers and parents who all lived in the area of issues like alone
Could you know what's gonna happen, then? How long does it take it took about four days for this bottom? Was forty four thousand acres to fill
the flood plain where Dan lived in farmed was like this bold, the levies that we're still holding we're like the rim and floodwaters swamp, everything inside where there had been fields,
Now there were waves when you ve got all I wore out here of the age is like a big ocean and just like parts of the ocean. It was full of trash. The water had washed out people's homes, and
arms and whenever wasn't tied down, floated away
you could believe always double floated. Em they're there was firewood, saw machines, washers dryers was gas, dates, cans, bottles, you name it. It was their dance house flooded and so did his parents and three brothers places. He shows us and photos all these voters, the wreckage. Your house here believes this photo the to you, the caption, underneath it says we can still find happiness.
Like now day, my wife? Now we ve got a good marriage. Dunes married survived the dailies, as did his family, but recovery with a long, slow, back, search, arrive financially, probably took me ten years to get back to where I was at. The flood was a blow to the whole region. It caused about fifteen billion dollars of damage across the MID West, fifty p
all lost their lives, as for Dan, experienced literally whittled him down over the rest,
Reggie I'm right now, but I went back to my army way our right
right at three hundred. I went back to fourteen different light
Giving sandbag like yours is working and dress. Lotta was dress, backing out forty five years old
I mean I can handle it. I couldn't do that today. There's no way, I know I know my dad
Teresa. I worked all my life for this and they say it's all nothing now
this land hasn't flooded since then, and down wants to keep it that way. He's the president of the Nigh levy district he'll do almost anything to keep it from being reached, but some people feel who's going
to find a couple of days after we met Dan in Illinois, we're on the other side of the river in Missouri. Pumping
The gravel road in a rental car
Grain elevator track we're going to meet a woman who has a lot in common with them. First of all,
both of them live way out in the country after getting lost, we finally find it a farmhouse on a hill with
garden of viruses outside
loves stylish. You can get out first because weight and better way we're very like that
this quite a flying, associate yeah, that's Nancy, gotten she's, a welcoming host
now we ve kept her waiting more than half an hour, but she has these determined, sharp eyes that tell you in
We should not someone you want to mess with she and an abode in their seventies. They both live on farms that have been in their family.
For generations. That's my sprang for bogs like Dan Nancy drives us around too,
fields. This is corn, corn, they're down planning beans and our fields they filled up with water. In the gray
flood to nineteen. Ninety three, we started fighting on July for it just like Dan. She took a big hit lamp. She lost crops and not wiped out
I came down here and cleaned out this house,
send the cabinet. Everything in Nancy remembers
absurd moments to always standing
resting a few minutes and
Van drove up and it was FEMA.
And they gave me of white book
some say all are male and the six pack a mountain. Do I laughed
where the whole era we did you drink it,
mountains. I know I don't drink that stuff
but for all Dan and Nancy. Having common when it comes to preventing flooding, there's are
aging river between them driving around she showed
Why won't be able to get you down the bridge landing here, but we don't get very far go well, oh it shall we say
We keep driving we'd be in the water, are not going to you with that road is under water. There you go Nancy wants to do.
Is TAT the river bank, but we can't get there because the river is coming to us over the years
as this has been happening more and more often we die to water down here, and they went from infrequent too frequent. She thinks that's because Dan and other people across the river have been raising their levies for extra protection and especially since two away, you see a very definite change. The river doesn't have any where to go. She says that the sky levy is over built and they should be lowered to protect the families in farms
we're here on the Missouri side of the river when you,
Farm along the river you're, gonna experience, floods and, if you can handle that
then sell your land, the mood, the higher ground, but don't
securing neighbours to flood. So you can live off the fat of the land that that's just not fail back in Illinois,
and not buying that people below was army.
I'll go Imaginating AIDS when all day there trying to start it all up. He says them
We, the people on the Missouri side. Nancy side should invest more in flood protection
and of blaming their neighbours across the way. An upstream I'm not saying
people are smart here, but I mean they got. I think they got some vision.
Maybe they don't have any.
Bottom and while there are some,
I'm around Nancy's land their nowhere near as high as the snipe Nancy things their high enough?
and the damn should lower his. He has
our intention of doing that which puts them in Nancy in kind of an arms
not of guns and tanks but of dirt and Sand
So who has the high ground in this levy war? Should they build high?
levies on Nancy side of the river or other levies on
inside of the river causing problems because there too high already. We want to look at the science behind levies, so we called in LISA Song from pro public of their partners on today. Show I LISA
LISA is appealing, surprise winning science in environmental reporter she's, gonna break it down for so ok, LISA
For my science lesson, I should warn
Besides, it's not my thing, so please go slow. Ok, so we
he wanted to show how levies actually impact rivers and flooding the best way that we could think of was actually to build
a miniature model of a river and put real water.
And see what happens. We hired these scientists at
University of Minnesota to build up a odd are now time lapse, video of them creating the river.
Back in the day, my dad and I used to make trains in this kind of looks like the train settings that we would make yeah. That is there.
No idea it is sort of similar to a giant model train said it's a box about ten feet by thirteen feet and then
they built a river channel and there they piped real water through it and
we decided to film what would happen if we actually put levies on the river
Ok, so now the water is going through the channel and I'm beginning to see it kind of seeking out as more water comes in
right, and this is what happens on a natural river, with no levies,
as soon as the water gets high enough. The river floods and everything on the flood plain get swat. Okay. So now what happens? If you stop
building levies. So then we ran the model again. The scientists built a levy.
On either side of the river is available,
The same amount of water is coming down the channel and the water it is for the most part.
Staying in the river. It's not floating out right, because we now have levies on both sides of this river and the levies are basically the same height.
So both sides of the river are basically equally protected, so does the
Amount of water that we had in the first video where it was flooding the flood plain now, when you send that same amount of water down the river, it's not flooding the flood plain. At a certain point, though, when the floodgates high enough, it will be big enough to go over both of the levies and that's when you can still get flooding, but it's a sort of equal opportunity in disaster for both sides. So
third movie. We see the exact same model, but now on one side of the levy there actually adding more height to it. In a situation like that, when it starts to flight
he sighed with the higher levies days dry, while the side with the lower,
if he is going to flood first an you actually have the
I'd with the higher levy pushing extra water onto the site.
But the lower levies- and this is basically what's happening with
dance, community and Nancy's community, the site.
The river behind Dan's levy. They are better protected because they have built their levies. Higher
and those people on the other side of the river where Nancy lives. Some of those communities have
or levies, and some have actually know levies at all, so they are at a disadvantage, so basically needs his appoint. Yes, oh yes, Elisa you're, gonna come back and talk to his later on the show about some solutions: right, yes,
We back. Ok. Well, we'll talk to their LISA song is appealing, surprise winning science in environmental reporter with Pro Publican
So who can
sort out Dan and is viewed. We can't just keep escalating the levy wars. When we come back, we meet the people who are supposed to keep the peace. You listening
to reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p r, eggs,
The centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal analogy today, with our partners are problems we ve been talking about
Farmers, poor neighbours with a river running between them neighbours. Poor
but in a modern day wore overlaps. We got people belong,
was, I mean
I'll go Imaginating AIDS but all day and are trying to start it all up. That's is not there
being reasonable Nancy guidance thinks levy. Protecting them
lumberjacks property is too high, then thinks his levy is just fine thanks and we just her with the science
When the levies on one side of the river higher than the other, it causes flooding across the way, but scientists dont decide who gets flooded. Politicians do so reveals patch of Michael's and Catherine S. Gaspe went to a conference,
Saint Louis, with the people who were making those decisions were all in one rob they take it from here. If you
ever wondered? What a meeting of midwestern water policy experts looks like I'll pay, you a picture or in a large windowless conference room in the basement. The Hampton in in downtown Saint Louis State and federal officials face each other around a: U shaped set of tables there, a powerpoint presentations, flood inundation maps and thankfully free coffee in the back. There's this one moment that really
That's the tone its during a break between powerpoints one guy at the table, jokes that he needs a little technical assistance, maybe from the army
prevention, engineers and FEMA about his hotel room in my room, flooding
measured is everything on the bed. The people here
are in charge of river policy, for five states along the Upper Mississippi include
in Illinois in Missouri. They ve been working for years to create a plan to manage flooding that everyone can agree on that so far there is no plan.
No agreement for now. There are only studies you want for the rise in the last year that we then now working on this long awaited budgeting.
Model. That's got Whitney of Flood risk management for the army, core of engines,
whose based in Illinois after his presentation, I asked god- is this nigh levy that
ex band lumber side of the Mississippi really higher than it supposed to be.
The different versions of the truth. Ass. There are the numbers right still, they are in fact over.
Where there are five years now we we ve known that more than a decade we ve been trying to work with our partners. In other words, the army court studied levy and agreed with Nancy. They took measurements that proved the snow had been raised and twenty fifteen the core sent a letter telling the people who run the district to lower the Levy Dan and the others nigh commissioners refused. They say that everyone
Hurricane Katrina, the core, has been trying to over, regulate them and then says the cores numbers were wrong, but the core came up with more evidence. This year they put together a computer model that showed that if the ninety ninety three flood happened today, flooding Nancy's would be worse
Because the snipe and six other nearby levies are too high
The army core, has been telling the Snyder take their levy down a notch for years, but they're not exactly out there with bull.
Those errors and shovels tearing down size is easy.
We don't have an enforcement, are we don't have the ability?
then bring the police states over the responsibility for enforcement and the flood plains, bloodline, rules and regulations. But what happens when the river is the state line?
remember Dance in Illinois and Nancy's in Missouri. Missouri can't force Nanda,
or his levy in Illinois, Illinois
do something about it, but how likely is that? I took a little road trip to find out
Simon, Springfield Illinois in the law
shadow of the tall dome of the state capital. I was going to see a democratic state, Senator
Right you want to talk about. Senator Dave. Taylor has been trying to de escalate this cross state conflict. We can't just keep escalating the level
worse? He put forward a bill to try to rein in levy districts in his own state, but we really couldn't
Come together on this at all for
visuals in Illinois, there's just not much incentive to bring.
Levies down the people in Missouri
complain all they want. It doesn't cost me about seeing that the problem is that we all protect our own broker interests.
We have to look at this in a much more global way. For the record, the state of Illinois did send a notice of violation to this nigh levy. District in tone
fifteen telling them their levy was too high, so another letter from another agency, but nothing changes. So I asked him what else can state do? Should the state start filing lawsuits to bring levy districts align the Azores
Let her go and of you. You know, that's why we're trying to come up with a plan that hopefully make some sense out of this. In other words, for don't hold your breath, Nancy.
Nancy isn't holding her breath, but she's not giving up either make these people take those levies back to authorize tight she's convinced that there is one more government agency that could actually do something here. Fema can do it
Emma came Lord the boom and the boom needs to be lowered. Fema. It turns out also sent a letter. Warnings lie, but chemo has something that the other agencies, don't something that Dan and the Snow Levy District really care about a flood insurance subsidy programme, but to be eligible for it. You're levy has
follow all state and federal laws, farmers like Dan or getting the insurance but their breaking the rules. So why hasn't FEMA pulled the insurance
from people who are violating the law, we spent money.
Trying to arrange an interview. You have reached the regional office of the federal emergency management agency. If you're calling about a disaster, please press one, but in the end the agency declined to talk with us
ok, so basically, none of the state and federal regulators has been willing to lower the boom. That leaves just a couple more
runs up the ladder, that's Congress and ultimately, the President
and there in Washington is where this levy war has really heated up.
Why should an easy about twice a year? That's down again he's
part of the lobbying groups that spent almost a quarter million dollars for less regulation and more local control. It's a low profile campaign funded by levy districts from all over the country. The levy districts get their money by taxing landowners, so their spending public money to get the army core out of their business.
They even hired professional lobbyists to help. How do things stand off is going to end? I guess it all. It all depends on whether drop gets back.
He's eliminated a lotta regulations. It we're just in my being or stupidity. Nancy's also been pleading her case law makers, but on a much smaller scale when she wants to go to Washington DC or do a study about the river she's paying out of her own pocket. I stopped
counting just over twenty six thousand dollars of my own money, I'm up to twenty eight. Twenty nine Nancy doesnt have a levy district behind her. She has just a small association neighbours of the Mississippi Nancy. Once people like Dan to follow the rules, but dance group
fewer rules and Nancy's, not just worried about the way things are now she's worried about where things could go. She seen a proposal. A map were her farm would be sacrificed to floodwaters so that other communities
He saved. She told us about it. While she drove us around,
potential. One way that that's why they sang it. We want new Hicks to give us everything. You have said we can continue to prosper. While you suffer that's the name.
Their their game. It's very cruel game needs. His fear, isn't so far fetched the only polemics calculations about which league
given up to the river to protect more valuable property, and it's already got a few places set aside to do just that. They were created almost a hundred years ago,
In the summer of nineteen, twenty six heavy rains drenched the MID west and kept on ring into nineteen twenty seven,
back. Then there were levies on the Mississippi, but they couldn't hold the river. This time
Troubleshooting Blaze in Alola that night it was the worst flood ever on the Mississippi levees broke in one hundred and forty five place in seven states flooded. More than half a million people lost their homes. Hundreds of people died. Some estimate over a thousand flooding across the country was so epic people wrote songs
Like Blue Sing, Bessie Smith in America,
demanded action. That's why the army core added something new flood ways. Relief allows for
river tongues, pay landowners for the right to flood their fields when the Mississippi got too high, his Patrick and Catherine again, one of these places was a stretch of timberland and Southeast Missouri
Just ten years later, the Mississippi was running high and the core flooded it decades passed and the cord didn't have to use the flood way again until
in South EAST Missouri, the water is rising, so fast residents have been told not to bother with sandbags. It's your own Easter. Twenty eleven when the Mississippi River starts creeping
its banks again up around Dana Nancy's farms. It's a pretty big flood, but two
miles down river, the water
who's running dangerously high. Millions of
there's a farm land or at risk, along with the city
of Cairo Illinois
governor of Missouri gave a warning or set taught them
record high to that Miss Simms where they come together at the Ohio. There is a lot of water in a lot action. The water keeps rising, but the core is ready. They have that flood way
A hundred and thirty thousand acres ready to go all they need to do is blue
a levy this in front of it Missouri officials
Vermont land in their state to get washed away. So they soon to stop the core. Then Illinois officials go to court arguing. The court should blow the levy, the core waits as long as I can, but when the river tops sixty feet and sixty one officials finally give the signal from a tanker out on the water, the core pumps,
Good explosive into pipes in the levy there. Did you see it? It just happened
a wave of water, Russia's through the breach. The river goes down in Cairo is saved. The decision is controversial, but basically the plan works. Here's how a core official name Karen Durham Aguilera, explains the unseen ban under what lie as the army car authorized
oh up a levy or stepped back for second, you know we say blow up lobby, but what we are really doing is operating a flood way as a design itself by when this is the solution that Smart River policymakers light, instead of just one
going off the river, giving the water somewhere to go the army core declared victory, but there was a town full of people who weren't celebrating
see the flood way wasn't just farmland. There was a small town of Africa.
American farmers right in the middle of it, though my grandfather was very hurt. My equal learned is that why?
They will put that much water or Deborah Robinson Tarbert lived in the town called pin hook. She was also the mayor:
She says that she and her neighbors were completely cut out of the decision to open the flood way. The army cord didn't consult them even the
date of Missouri didn't mention the town of pen hook when it suits the army core to prevent the levy from being blown. Instead, the law suit focused on the big farms in the flood way and Deborah the mayor
said no one called her about evacuating the lady that works behind me. She said that she saw it on the facebook that it was to be under mandatory evacuation, so I immediately start calling emergency management
You know: what's some ten hook, residents were elderly in wheelchairs, Deborah one
to know if she needed to get her people out of their response. She got,
Well, then, I may just getting excited lessons. Gonna have banned. The tablet
believe that an got her people out days later, the town was under ten
Brown, river water and they had no place to live
how does a town wind up in the middle of a flood way Debars dad Dim Robinson, was there when it happened? It was early in the nineteen forties. He told the story to a traveling, staked a story and twenty years ago, isn't what you would call virgin land and the three big
timber guys had could all big virgin timber all the good TIM soul at all. So there was no
Immediate Use law, the lan anymore. That's why I've sold so cheaply
Jim was nine years old when his dad and for other black families, but eighty acres in the flood way Jim's dad was a sharecropper. An attendant farmer had moved around the south, looking for a place with more opportunity and less racism,
In most places, no white landowners would sell, but the timber companies that own this flood way said they would that's begin and though this Pino Galea, the farmers cleared the land by hand built homes in a church a school. In a store, along with the threat that the government might flood,
There was another risk they face from the river a small gap in a levy that sometimes
made the land flood
every now and then a house would need to be rebuilt, but it was all part of life in then, as the town grew, they tried to convince the government to plug that gap. My that worked until his death Tran too,
yet the people on the high up to see how bad we needed flood control down in its area. But I just can't see happen at our carbon
we got two men and Bernard is they they may be enough happen. They use Will Leeuwen. After all, the cor had decided. This land was supposed to flood. Ah, yes, pray, then act and Leal deceived.
They were living club, an old and my family would be taken. Jim Robinson died in two thirds
for seven years later, in hook, was in ruins,
A few months ago
went to see what's left of the town I jumped in the station wagon with a couple of professors, TA
Lawrence and Alain lawless. They ve just written a book about pinho
where your nine, this sort or no one Alene, had never heard of pinhole until she read a story about how it was destroyed. Of course, it was a deal with the gavel because it was the only land that was available to African Americans
by and own. At the same time they said, but you re
I sit in this bill way caught as a former student of hers. He was drawn to pin hooks history because his family
comes from another african american Farm town in Missouri for seven years time
I have been asking people from pin hook to tell their story the one the army core left out of its official record for pin,
people, especially it's almost like, they never existed and they don't exist. You know, and that's the thing now we
to say over the years that really problematic about this whole thing. After it
more miles bouncing along a gravel road. We turn right, and I get my first look at the town. This
in their houses on here. This is actually a street in their warehouses. Worse every year I mean, if you do it by this, he would not. Now that was a town with you. Tall weeds are growing through cracks in a concrete foundation. This was the house that Jim Robinson built for his
I further down the road we find what's left of the old Baptist church, someone burned down after the flood, which happened to a lot of the houses, our
left. I have never moved away. Arsonists came out here. They stratum of copper and they burn the houses down in a restricted of everything that was Bible after their town was obliterated. People had to figure things out for themselves, Deborah the mayor says they got less help because they lived inside a flood way, so they scattered some people's.
With family, some moved away entirely, but they still consider themselves a community
he's going to come back home, plays a much safer.
We then on the ground
This is memorial day week in week out here, it's pin hook day be annual homecoming. Dozens of people who used to live in can hook or who spent their summers here is kids, are coming back. People drive up park next to the field on those
their coolers, Bert Robinson, he's the son of German or either Robinson is frying catfish and chicken and big pots of oil
Mamma. Mamma makes them facing them. You have one. Guy takes kids for a tour on Afore Wheeler, telling them about how things used to be.
Is a small crowd gathering around a poster with photos of the flood of water
endeavour, Robinson Carver, the mayor of what's left of people who we met earlier
he's running around welcoming people saying some
I ask com, you know after the tone was wiped out, never took the lead, trying to get answers from the army core and help from FEMA failed in my heart. They went idea was wrong, ok affair, that they should be stepped up.
Play Metallica we did. Is we start, but what we do? You know we're gonna come back.
We'll make a mass for what has happened. Dad didn't happen.
It was like, I know what I had to do and as fight for
we need it and I was a roof over
We do want no more than what we have and they did not provide us a place ago. They did not of
at us with things we need. Instead, they got help from the crew
mennonite volunteers led by this guy who's. Also, here today, Jeff Corps
men and I disastrous service
Rachel Operations coordinator after the flood, never and the others couldn't rebuild their homes and pillar but fee
they offer some money to rebuild somewhere else, Jeff's group volunteered to provide the labour, but they needed land. The original intention was to try to buy,
twenty or thirty acres somewhere and develop a pen hook community, but that was not to be
No one wanted to sell the land to them
I need to be very cautious about that. There I think,
Try lanes work, they ve identified an element of racial by us
whether landowners would sell to the folks whenever Deborah.
Found some land, there was always a problem, something wrong.
The zoning. Are the utilities? Are the land cost more than FEMA would pay, and at least once when everything else lined up right, a seller backed out after hearing what
I had planned. She says FEMA, let her know, but the clock is ticking. They say what we do:
so low to Amerika
it was a man of you know, gave an x amount of time. Then we're gonna go on in my help, just move out to south and now, in the end, they couldn't get enough land to start a new town for everyone. Instead, Deborah found seven parcels on the same street in a town about thirty miles.
Why, in April, after seven years, without a home, she in just six others from pin hook moved into their new houses,
You haven't told me some good look. Folks are neighbours again, but in someone else's city and pin hook will ever be anywhere, but right here.
Assign planted on the ground nearby, says, pin hook reclaimed twenty seventeen. They haven't MR homecoming since the flood, but for years they held it in another town last year was the first time pin hook day was back in penal. Why was it was it because it was too hard together, like people couldn't be back here, we had to hear
the help they had to be hell and go alone and even know how much you pray every we turned a corner right. We get up there on here, the tea
is, it was home. You remember that I mean you remember you think of that is hard to go back somewhere you bring kicked out. Pin hook. Is gone but now their former neighbour
The big farmers in the flood way have a voice at the highest levels of the army core, just like Jim Robinson wanted decades ago. They like to see the gap in the levy close to keep their land dry.
One of them is a farmer in business man named R D, James, twenty seventeen, the trunk administration appointed here
to meet the army course. Civil works projects
Is there a better way? Some places are making peace with river, even when it floods. When we come back,
TWAIN's hometown. That's next on reveal from the centre for investigative reporting, p r eggs from the city,
four investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal I'm outlets, and today we ve been talking about levies and havoc.
Neighbours against each other in a kind of levy, arms race, our partners, a broad public, hired scientist,
build a miniature model of a river they put water through it to see.
How levies affect flooding along the banks proper,
because LISA Song and I looked at videos of those models, and what we saw is that levies can make flow.
Worse along the river leases back now, to talk about a better way of preventing flooding Haley's of high so LISA,
How do we fix this problem so that communities are building higher and higher levies and are preventing floods
One of the solutions we looked at is called a setback levy when commute
he's decide that they are going to take.
And the levy that they have right next to the river and they're going to rebuild the levy further back on the floodplain. So basically, there is now a whole pile.
Of land right next to the river that is unprotected by a levy and the idea is: u dont? Let people live there.
And you allow that land to just be open land, so the next time it floods, the water, has somewhere to go so
I'm looking at the video now
the water is now spilling out onto this flood plain, but it's not hitting the houses. Yes, that's the idea, as once you build a setback,
lovey. You can have the same amount of water coming.
The river, as you had in a past flight,
now that water level will be lowered overall, and we see these kinds of setback levies in the Netherlands quite often, but we only have a few examples of setback levies in the U S there, a type of solution were just starting to.
Format, but how they gonna happen in America, people love living a high the river. Yet so these kinds of projects in the? U S, only work
when a community volunteers to have a setback. Lovey LISA. Thank you so much for coming in explaining this. To me, thank you,
Making room for the river sounds nice, but how exactly does that work? If you town is already built right on top of the river to find out we're going to a place where they ve been struggling with the Mississippi sent
Well Mark TWAIN's do ok, they have Mark TWAIN, coffee might see town ornaments playing cards.
Like a mark TWAIN bottle ahead. This is Hannibal Missouri, more TWAIN's, hometown
yeah. They literally have a book called Mark TWAIN for cat lovers, and then they mark TWAIN for dog lovers. It's just across the water, from snipe levy, reformers
in Luxembourg lives and anti garden. She grew up here and now she is about forty miles away. Reveal reporters Catherine, whiskey and patched Michael's visited Hannibal this spring. The town has a kind of tween theme Park, Theo we're near the
river in downtown Hannibal to meet the former mare. John Lanes finally, will that remains to be seen our so that you can probably already town Johns a bit of a character. That's right down poking holes in the Mark TWAIN Machine, that's fake, that's not esteem, whistle, whatever its sound effect
must be the dinner crews that is leaving right now and yes, that's the mark TWAIN,
in Riverboro. We're looking at between us on that boat is a giant levy. Thirty four feet: high built of earth and concrete the levy protects the historic
downtown John Time money from local businesses to help the army for pay for this levy. It was finished in June,
Ninety, three, a month later, the big flood hit.
Glad you came in just under the wire. Basically, of course, we didn't know that no one said you know, there's epic, all time record flood coming and we got to be ready for it.
Do that to the flood and Mark TWAIN, boyhood, home and the rest of downtown were saved,
but now we're gonna tell you what happened to the other part of town, the south side that wasn't protected by the twinning legacy or the flood wall, and to do that, we meet up with Jonas Heart
handle rearing Coney emergency management. For almost fifty years, John Ass Hark has been the guy who make sure people Hannibal stay safe in a flood. He survived his first one when he was just a few weeks. Old
major flood. Our house was flooded. The family moved
but a year later, another flood took that house to his father had had enough is at Yale. It got
to try to get him to evacuate. Leave in one gentleman in particular, I can remember doing my best to talk to him to come out and he went. It was a good you can understand why he didn't want to give up on his neighborhood. When you look at black and white photos, you can see it was a boss linked
while we would come in and boats to try to get him to evacuate leave in one gentleman in particular, I can remember doing my best to talk to him to come out and he went
It was very good. You can understand why
you didn't want to give up on his neighborhood. When you look at black and white photos, you can see that it was a bustling place with department stores bars in an antique shop, but it was
who is at the mercy of the river, because this is the low lying part of town. Eventually, the government came up with an escape plan. It bought those properties and tore down the house's people who lived here, sold their homes to the government and moved away. It was a calculated
treat from the river now the water would have somewhere to go. I can sympathize with those that did
Oh, I didn't want to sell.
I can see and fully understand why they did it was
a necessary evil. I guess you could say a necessary evil, because the town and the Army Cor had decided only to protect them
Stork downtown people here were left outside today. There all gone
It is really weird. It's just flat grass everywhere. Just haven't you wouldn't know if there was anything here, except that it's a rectangle with power lines across it totally it's alive neighbourhood, this spot that was deliberately left outside the city's floodwater. It illustrates something else we ve seen again and again up and down the Mississippi in the cold calculus a flood management, it's the most valuable proper
Is that get the best protection Hannibal and the core sacrificed a low income neighbourhood to the river while protecting the tourist business downtown? But the thing is scientists would say this is smart flood.
Policy get out of the rivers way give the water somewhere to go. No levy is ever
when you re, guaranteed the last and hold back that river. For, of course,
that's exactly what this nigh levy district across the river is trying to do hold back the water forever.
Four Dan Lindbergh and the other commissioners. It's a point of pride for family legacy. To defend
this farmland from one generation to the next that over the other,
side of the river Nancy guidance. Also thinking about the legacy shall leave for her children and grandchildren. I think that's what
reason everyone so dug in here their fighting about what their pay
of land will look like fifty are a hundred years. From now Nancy has a bumper sticker. That says, don't make us and other birds. Point birds point is the flood way we told you about earlier, for the town of pin hook was sacrificed to protect other towns and farms.
On the river. I went to see Nancy again in August. She said she knows: she's made enemies behind the sky. Some who used to be friends Simum are taking it personally, then I'm involved in them.
I don't know why. I think it's because I had friends in this night, and I think I know
The thing is, I don't give up. If I
when you'll see my name any obituaries,
we I mean it's a simple. We ve heard help.
People with more money and power, get better flood protection and how people with less
are often left on the front lines to face the river. We still wondered what is Dan think about this so late in the season. I went back to the sky to ask them, so the corn looks pretty different from when we were out here last. Is it getting close to harvest oil or probably a month off? Yet I really do
at one question left for Dan is what's happening here, fair for everyone who lives on the river. When it comes to flood protection, you get what you pay for you get what you can afford to pay and
some communities that don't have a lot of money for flood protection? Is that the fair way to do things across the river? I would say yes, I mean.
I don't know exactly how to answer that. But I mean from my side of it. Yes
I've been, there were where we had to fight for everything we got things. Weren't always is good, as they are right.
Land values gone way up, I'm basically,
but we're trying to hold onto those land values in like us.
At other my whole life to keep this river out ear. So I guess I swear I'm gum in Rome
our story was from reveals. Patrick Michael's, incomparably scouts
for more on our investigation into the nations levies with propaganda go to reveal
it was dark governments. Gasket was Lee producing this week. Talk you tell needest edited our show, thanks to the whole amazing team, a proper legal basis,
Al Shaw, Alexandria, Zeiss, Katy, Campbell, Run, Johnny, Chuck Brodie as well as well.
Editor in chief empire,
or a stern reported in Minneapolis in Phoebe Petrovitch researched here Neville special thanks to the state historical society resort.
And TAT Lawrence and Lean lamas for sounds from their documentary. Taking pin hook their book when they blew
The levy came out this summer and production
Andrews more windy. Anna hawser are sound design team is the dynamic dual. My man, J, breezy, Mister Jimmy
and Fernando my may, your router their help. This week from Catherine Rima Arsenius Crystal Shuffler Executive producers, Kevin Self, I see music is by Colorado, lightning support for views provided by the River and David Logan Foundation, the John Dene Catherine Team, Macarthur Foundation.
The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation before Foundation, the Housing Simons Foundation and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a co production of the centre for,
let's get reporting and p r x amount lesson and remember. There is always more to the story.
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-20.