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USGS CMG InfoBank: Holding Its Course

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Comment: 13:01 - 14:27 (01:26)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 20. Running Water II: Landscape Evolution
Keywords: "Nancy Powell", "Mississippi River", river, "stream course", "river channel", "river bed", bank, "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers", flood, levee, commerce, "Baton Rouge", "New Orleans", "fresh water", erosion

Our transcription: If the Mississippi were allowed to change course from its modern channel, major ports built along its shores would be left dry.
Elsewhere farms and towns in the path of the new river bed would be washed away.
So the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has engaged a team of scientists and engineers to hold the River to its present channel.
How long the Corps can keep the River where it is, is really just a matter of money.
One of the things about engineering is that you can do almost anything given the money, and we can basically keep the River where it is.
Now, we may end up having a whole mess of control structures up and down the River.
Because the River is going to try to change its course.
It's going to try to find the shortest distance to the Gulf of Mexico.
And it might be not this flood, but it might be the next flood where a levee might break.
Or else a structure might be flying through something like that where the River is going to try to change its course again.
But the Corps realized that it could not really let this happen.
The economies of Baton Rouge and New Orleans depend on the River for its fresh water, for its commerce, its transportation.
Industries all up and down the River use the fresh water in their processing.

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