Rivers by Design: State Power and the Origins of U.S. Flood Control (Hardback)
  • Rivers by Design: State Power and the Origins of U.S. Flood Control (Hardback)
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Rivers by Design: State Power and the Origins of U.S. Flood Control (Hardback)

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£90.00
Hardback 304 Pages / Published: 03/05/2006
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The United States has one of the largest and costliest flood control systems in the world, even though only a small proportion of its land lies in floodplains. Rivers by Design traces the emergence of the mammoth U.S. flood management system, which is overseen by the federal government but implemented in conjunction with state governments and local contractors and levee districts. Karen M. O'Neill analyzes the social origins of the flood control program, showing how the system initially developed as a response to the demands of farmers and the business elite in outlying territories. The configuration of the current system continues to reflect decisions made in the nineteenth century and early twentieth. It favors economic development at the expense of environmental concerns.

O'Neill focuses on the creation of flood control programs along the lower Mississippi River and the Sacramento River, the first two rivers to receive federal flood control aid. She describes how, in the early to mid-nineteenth century, planters, shippers, and merchants from both regions campaigned for federal assistance with flood control efforts. She explains how the federal government was slowly and reluctantly drawn into water management to the extent that, over time, nearly every river in the United States was reengineered. Her narrative culminates in the passage of the national Flood Control Act of 1936, which empowered the Army Corps of Engineers to build projects for all navigable rivers in conjunction with local authorities, effectively ending nationwide, comprehensive planning for the protection of water resources.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822337607
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 435 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Bold in its interpretation, sweeping in its scope, and judicious in its style, Rivers by Design argues convincingly that federal flood control policy, which culminated in the Flood Control Act of 1936, ended comprehensive resource planning at the federal level. This is an exciting and original study."-Donald J. Pisani, author of Water and American Government: The Reclamation Bureau, National Water Policy, and the West, 1902-1935
"Karen M. O'Neill has produced a tour de force-a carefully researched and clearly written analysis of the tangled emergence of the U.S. flood-control system. Her powerful wake-up call to us all is how the federal government, through the Army Corps of Engineers, reengineered the nation's rivers to promote local economic development at the expense of-rather than with a sensitivity to-environmental values."-Norris Hundley Jr., author of The Great Thirst: Californians and Water-A History
"Masterfully weaving historical details, Karen M. O'Neill traces the unanticipated expansion of the federal government's role in `controlling' the Mississippi and Sacramento rivers. In this era of rising hurricane-induced floodwaters, she offers deep insight into the tensions between local and national agencies, and between the state and private interests."-Allan Schnaiberg, coauthor of Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Community Development

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