The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Save the Delta Coalition on Flood Control & Related Issues

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:07 AM

(Editor’s note: The Delta Grassroots Caucus would like to forward this information about a very constructive grassroots initiative undertaken by many of our colleagues in the Delta regarding flood control and related issues in the Greater Delta Region. It is called the Save the Delta coalition, and information is below if you would like to contribute to their work for our region.–Lee Powell, MDGC)

At the behest of communities, businesses, elected officials, and numerous other interests impacted by the flooding in the Lower Mississippi River Valley, a new effort has been organized to advocate on behalf of the region. Save the Delta, a grassroots coalition formed in June is working to ensure that Congress and the Administration provide the necessary funding to the region to restore the vital navigation, ports, flood control, and other critical infrastructure.

Under the direction of the Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association (MVFCA), Save the Delta is reaching out to stakeholders throughout the region urging them to contact their Members of Congress, organizing letter writing and petition drives, as well as making sure news media understand and accurately report on the issues facing the region.

It is important to note that Save the Delta is not meant to replace existing organizations and supporters who have been working for many years on the important issues facing our region. Instead, its goals are to collaborate with other stakeholders so that, collectively, our voices are heard and our messages are delivered on repairing and restoring our region.

In addition to the coalition’s grassroots activities, it is working hard to counter misinformation about the Delta’s challenges. We are as supportive of protecting the Delta’s environment as anyone, but we would differ with those who seem to believe that the only way to protect the environment is to abandon the levee system and let the Mississippi flood massive areas of the region as it did in 1927. We would differ with any effort to use the tragedy from the Delta region’s flooding for a grandiose and totally unrealistic vision. That vision being to take the most productive farmland out of production and create a vast national “park.” The coalition will be submitting letters to the editor, opinion editorial pieces, and other commentary, not only to media outlets in the Delta region, but to national publications throughout the country to continue to educate the public.

The coalition has received some initial funding to jump start this effort. However, it will need additional contributions to continue its outreach. Please consider making a contribution to help Save the Delta continue its good work.

Contributions can be sent to:

Save the Delta Coalition c/o Mr. George Grugett Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association 9049 Corporate Gardens Drive, #101 Germantown, Tennessee 38138

To learn more, go to or on Facebook at!/savethedelta.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about specific activities Save the Delta is undertaking, please contact David LaValle at (314) 982-8668 or at

Finally, here is a guest column published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on July 8, 2011 by George Grugett, Executive Vice President, Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association

“Flood control measures spared the valley: In the aftermath of this year’s flooding, we must make smart decisions to protect the communities and economies linked to the river”

During the late spring flooding this year, the federally sponsored project known as the Mississippi River & Tributaries project prevented an estimated $62 billion in damages throughout the Mississippi River Valley.

Commissioned and constructed in the years after the Great Flood of 1927 by the Mississippi River Commission and the Corps of Engineers, the MR&T is a system of levees, floodways and backwater areas along with other flood control features that stretch from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to the Gulf of Mexico. It stands as one of the most successful civil works projects our nation has ever produced, and over the years has saved lives, communities and billions of dollars in property damage.

Allowing people to live and work throughout a 35,000-square-mile area in seven states, the MR&T protects more than $200 billion worth of assets.

And beyond its flood protection, the MR&T provides other benefits crucial to the Mid-South, specifically Memphis, including stable drinking water supplies, food production, power generation, navigation and commerce, economic development and recreation.

The flood of 2011 was a historical flood that exceeded most records for gauge readings and volumes of water – surpassing the 1927 and 1937 floods. Because of the wisdom and foresight of Congress, the president and local people who have constructed and maintained flood-control systems through the MR&T project, the massive 2011 flood was carried in the Mississippi Valley without the loss of human life.

There was not a single unintended over-topping or crevassing of the main-line levee and not one acre was flooded that was designed not to be flooded. Floodways, spillways and backwater areas all helped distribute the water in the center of the country.

All this was possible because the MR&T project performed as designed. And even though it is only 89 percent completed, it protected the lives of more than 4 million citizens who live and work in some of the most productive agricultural land in our country.

In the aftermath of this year’s flooding, we must continue to make smart decisions to protect the communities and economies linked to the river. Returning the river to a completely natural state is not a viable option for our nation.

Those who agitate for alternatives to the MR&T want us to abandon much of the Mississippi River Delta region. They see our recent crisis as a way to advance their agenda of preventing the repair of our levees and enhancing flood protection so they can accomplish their dream of reverting much of the region back into the vast swampland it was in the early 1800s.

They forget that agriculture in the Mid-South is an economic engine responsible for thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in corn, soybean, rice and cotton production, which feeds and clothes our country and the world. Taking the world’s most productive farmland out of production is simply not a wise option.

Industries and navigation on the river support thousands of additional jobs and economic development that provides much of the products we use every day and the means of transporting them efficiently, thereby keeping the prices we pay affordable.

This system has never failed and it didn’t fail this time. The foundation of flood control in the Lower Mississippi River Valley is sound. However, it is critical that the flood protection measures get the maintenance and improvements they need. Since the MR&T is not yet complete, federal investment is necessary to provide Memphis and the Delta region better protection. We may sometimes go years without thinking about it, but when the water rises again – and it will – those levees will be there, as long as we maintain them.

As the waters of the 2011 flood continue to recede, the resulting devastation is painfully apparent. The Mississippi River watershed drains everything from the Appalachians to the Rockies, from New York to Montana, and it all funnels right past our doorstep and down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Thousands were displaced from their homes, most, if not all, in unprotected areas. Millions of acres of farmland were inundated and many communities will take months, if not years, to resume normal life. We should continue to pray for and help our neighbors in need. Meanwhile, we must repair the damages quickly. Otherwise, we may incur a disaster with the next high-water season that could cost federal taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in disaster relief and recovery.

George Grugett is executive vice president of the Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association.