The Memphis District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering whether to open the levee at Birds Point, New Madrid. The Corps says it’s meeting with the Mississippi River Commission — a multi-state board — at one o’clock this afternoon to make that decision. Breaching the levee could prevent rising waters from flooding homes, but would devastate thousands of acres of farmland.

The Birds Point Levee is near the Mississippi-Ohio confluence. When the levee fails, or is breached by the Army Corps of Engineers, the water is supposed to flood to the West and Southwest.

Governor Nixon thinks it’s a bad idea.

“At this critical time, I have serious concerns about plans by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to intentionally breach the Birds Point levee along the Mississippi River near Mississippi and New Madrid counties, he says. “Intentionally breaching this levee would affect hundreds of Missouri families and pour a tremendous amount of water into 130,000 acres of prime farmland. As Missouri families deal with this dangerous flooding, intentionally breaching this levee would be a harmful and inappropriate action.”

The Flood Control Act of 1928 gives the Mississippi River Commission the authority to operate the Birds Point Levee once the Mississippi River reaches 58 feet at Cairo, Illinois, and is predicted to rise.