According to the organization American Rivers, a levee breach in West Quincy was aggravated by “illegally over-built levees downstream and across the river.”

Union Township Levee Breach

In a statement, the national river conservation and protection group says, “The levee is at a ‘choke point’ in the river where so much of the floodplain is blocked by levees that the river has no room to spread out when it floods. The Union Township Levee is surrounded by illegally over-built levees downstream and across the river. The actions of the neighboring levee districts to build up their levees without the requisite permits and approvals likely pushed additional water onto the Union Township Levee, contributing to the breach.”

Olivia Dorothy, associate director for the Upper Mississippi River Basin with American Rivers, is calling on “regional leaders to support the development of a basin-wide flood risk management strategy that puts public safety first.”

The group classifies the Upper Mississippi River is among America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2019 due to the threats of illegal levee development and climate change.