A documentary chronicling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to destroy the Birds Point levee last May is premiering this week on the Delta Farm Press Web site. The film, “Man Made: Disaster at Birds Point," was filmed and produced by Osborn &Barr, a Missouri-based communications company specializing in agriculture.
The video features interviews with farmers and citizens who live and work in the Birds-Point New Madrid Floodway and their attempts to reclaim their homes and land.
On May 2, the Corp detonated explosives in the Birds Point levee, located just south of Cairo, Ill., releasing water from the swollen Mississippi River into the BPNM Floodway. Over 130,000 acres in Mississippi County, Mo., in southeast Missouriwere inundated by the opening of the floodway, which had not been operated since the 1937 flood. The Corps said the opening was necessary to relieve pressure on flood control systems upstream.
The video describes a second attempt to drain water from the floodway which instead allowed more water from the Mississippi River to flow back into the floodway, producing more damage.
The Corps has yet to commit to rebuilding the levee to its original height and integrity. In fact, the rebuilt Birds Point levee is 11 feet below its original height. The documentary contains footage of the destruction of the levee and the significant damage the floodwaters did to cropland and communities. Some of the cropland will likely not be repaired.