Missouri River flood plain, levee acres vs CRP acres.

Been seeing a lot of reports that approx 500,000 acres of farm ground will be flooded out in the Missouri River Basin.That got me wondering how much ground the Missouri River levee system was actually “protecting”.
And also wondering how much ground we’re paying people not to farm (under CRP).
So I looked up some numbers.

from the USGS website:

  • From bluff to bluff, the river-floodplain below Sioux City, Iowa, covers 1.9 million acres. Historically, the river meandered across more than one-fourth of this floodplain acreage. This “meander belt” contained a variety of fish and wildlife habitats including wetlands, sandbars, wet prairies, and bottomland forests. Seasonal floods provided the water needed to replenish shallow-water habitats used for fish and wildlife breeding and growth.
  • Nearly 354,000 acres of meander belt habitat were lost to urban and agricultural floodplain development.

From the USDA’s June 13, 2001 press release on CRP enrollments:

  • For this 41st general CRP sign-up, more than 38,000 offers were received on about 3.8 million acres nationwide. Enrollment of the 2.8 million acres will bring the total enrollment in the program to 29.9 million acres, leaving sufficient room under the 32-million-acre cap to continue enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, continuous sign-up and other CRP initiatives. The Secretary has asked FSA to continue to consider ways to use continuous enrollments to ensure CRP contains those lands that are most erodible, most valuable to wildlife or that otherwise ensure the program targets the most vulnerable acres.
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