Major Unexpected Impacts Occurred

• Unique Impacts to All Forms of Transportation The nation's surface transportation systems, particularly the railroads and highway systems, experienced unusual and extensive damages from these three floods. The barge industry and shippers who depend on commercial navigation should seek improved river forecasting models and flood-monitoring systems. Approaches to many critical highway bridges need to be rebuilt to higher levels.

• Structural Damage Exceeds Expectations These floods with record rains and river levels offer lessons and information for engineers and structural experts about how to design structures more effectively to withstand flood extremes and to improve building codes. Current damage estimation techniques are inadequate. Data from the floods should be used to develop better guidelines for estimating flood damage.

• River- Floodplain Ecosystems were Surprise Beneficiaries Major floods, regardless of the human alterations in the floodplains, enhance river-floodplain ecosystems.

• Human Actions Create Major Unexpected Environmental Problems Human activities have hurt river ecosystems in many ways, and floods facilitate pest invasions and help create environmental disasters. The potential impacts of the nutrients and herbicides swept into the Gulf of Mexico in 1993 and 1997 need monitoring.

• Unusual and Unplanned Adjustments and Responses Occurred In extreme events, unexpected major impacts occurred and some existing governmental systems responded quickly and effectively. Ingenuity and resources are important ingredients in responding to extreme flooding.

• Hopes for Restoring River Habitats in the Aftermath of the 1993 Flood Look Glum The Corps of Engineers' annual budgets show sizable growth in funds for construction ($803 million in FY96, $1031 million in FY97, and to $1393

million in FY98), whereas funds for the Environmental Management Program of the Upper Mississippi declined from $19.5 million in FY96 to $12 million in FY98. Structural needs continue to overwhelm environmental concerns (Vanderpool, 1997).

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