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Algae blooms fed by farm flooding add to midwest’s climate woes

by Georgina Gustin, InsideClimate News

The historic rains that flooded millions of acres of Midwestern cropland this spring landed a blow to an already struggling farm economy.

They also delivered bad news for the climate.

Scientists project that all that water has flushed vast amounts of fertilizer and manure into waterways, triggering a potentially unprecedented season of algae blooms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted that the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico—a massive overgrowth of algae—could become the size of Massachusetts this summer, coming close to a record set in 2017, and that an algae bloom in Lake Erie could also reach a record size.

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/26062019/midwest-flooding-algae-blooms-dead-zone-climate-change-fertilizer-livestock-gulf-mexico-lake-erie

‘Breaches everywhere’: Flooding bursts midwest levees

by Mitch Smith and John Schwartz, NY Times

The widespread, severe flooding in the Midwest over the last month has exposed the vulnerabilities in a levee system that is now so full of holes that many here ruefully describe it as “Swiss cheese.”

With dozens of costly breaks across Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and nearby states, the surging waters have left large areas without even cursory flood protection.

“Breaches everywhere: multiple, multiple breaches,” said Tom Bullock, the top elected official in Holt County, Mo., where crews were rushing last week to patch a leaking levee that, if it failed completely, would flood the small town of Fortescue.

And with the fear of more floods in the coming years — and perhaps even the coming weeks — many people said living and farming near the water might not be viable much longer without major changes.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/31/us/midwest-floods-levees.html