1973 Flood

To many, the great days of Mississippi River overflow and month-long high water fighting are gone forever. This is not an accurate picture of reality. The River remains a formidable force throughout the Valley. Since the flood of 1927, there have been major floods causing loss of life and extensive property damage in the millions of dollars in 1937, 1945, 1950, 1973, 1975, 1979, 1982-83, 1989-91and 1993-98.

The 1973 flood in the Mississippi Valley must be considered as one of the greatest in the history of the lower valley. The flood inundated 17 million acres throughout the valley. In the Mississippi Levee District, the flooding was disastrous to both the region's residents and to wildlife populations. In the Delta, this flood caused almost $170 million in damages in 1973 dollars.

In the south Delta, over 600,000 acres were inundated. Hunting club members and game wardens in that area related scenes of piles of dead and dying deer after the floodwaters began to recede. Many more were slaughtered by poachers. Hunting club harvest records after the flood reflect that it took years for deer populations to recover. All terrestrial wildlife was decimated.

The 1973 flood was the first test of completed works in 23 years. This test proved that the Mississippi River improvements (particularly the cut-offs) was not functioning as efficiently as predicted. The result was that the Project Design Flood on the river would result in higher stages particularly from Greenville south. Sixty nine miles of Mainline Levee in our district require to be raised to safely pass this flood. The levee near Mayersville was found to require a maximum raise of 8 feet.