Utilizing Graceful Failure As An Opportunity for Flood Mitigation Downstream to Protect Communities and Infrastructure

In 2011, the authors observed how “graceful failure” through planned destruction of portions of the Birds Point Levee by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was enacted to alleviate extreme flooding on the Mississippi River. This action, while flooding thousands of acres of croplands as intended, reduced flooding and potential damage to waterway infrastructure and populated communities downstream. Recent trends and future climatic projections indicate that we will have more of these “extreme” flooding situations in our future. Therefore, this project focused on exploring the potential feasibility to utilize other locations along the inland waterway system where “graceful failure” or planned breach of levees may be used as a means of flood protection for downstream communities and infrastructure. Spatial analysis techniques were used with development of specific criteria and screen national-level data sets to identify probable locations for such mitigative approaches. The criteria was primarily focused on identifying non-urbanized, non-developed land where intentional flooding for storage of flood waters would minimize impacts. Each location that was identified as a potential candidate was further evaluated for capacity for flood water detention. A consolidated set of areas were identified that could provide some storage capacity for flood mitigation. Additional engineering and localized analysis would be necessary to vet the areas for actual storage implementation. However, this study provides and example of an unconventional approach to flood mitigation on inland waterways which could reduce the need for disaster response and assist in transportation planning during extreme flood conditions.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 19p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01744506
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747130
  • Created Date: Jun 18 2020 9:47AM