Big Sunflower Is Nation’s Most Endangered River

BIG SUNFLOWER RIVER, MS (Ben Caxton) — The environmental organization American Rivers has identified the Big Sunflower River as the nation’s most endangered river, saying an Army Corps of Engineers plan to curb flooding in the Delta threatens the Big Sunflower and 200,000 acres of surrounding wetlands. The $300 million project would involve a system of pumps to control the water level of the Big Sunflower. When the Mississippi River floods a steel bayou between it and the Big Sunflower is lifted in order to contain the water but when the bayou is up and rainfall is heavy in the Delta, the Big Sunflower floods as water is unable to drain into the Mississippi. When the flat land of the Yazoo Backwater region floods farmers’ crops can be wiped out. The land most often flooded is dominated by row-crop farmers, with farms averaging about 1000 acres. Environmental groups have long opposed the project, saying it would drain wetlands that are home to a unique ecosystem and an array of wildlife. American Rivers also claims the flood waters would be redirected to less prosperous communities downstream, causing poorer communities to flood.



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