Letters to the Editor

Levees are not enough to protect Cedar Rapids

Levees create a false sense of security, encouraging investment in flood plains. Then extreme high water either overtops or ruptures them as happened in many places this spring.

The emerging Cedar Rapids levee system will protect property from historic high river flows, but with our climate becoming wetter and more erratic it’s only a matter of time until the system fails.

To be effective in preventing property damage, levees must be augmented by actions to reduce watershed and atmospheric damage. Cedar Rapids is to be commended for converting formerly mowed land to pollinator patches better able to absorb rainfall and to encourage permeable paving and bioswales

I call on governments, businesses, individuals, and upstream landowners to help by doing these things:

Replace vehicles with more fuel efficient ones.

Insulate and caulk.

Install solar collectors.

Replace lawns with pollinator patches.

Mow existing lawns higher and less frequently.

Install a rain garden beneath every downspout.

Plant buffer strips between crops and waterways.

We can’t rely on levees for protection. Let’s work together to heal watersheds and the climate.

Rich Patterson

Cedar Rapids

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.