Rory Doyle

Flood of Biblical Proportions
Location: 38732
Nationality: USA
Biography: Rory Doyle is a working photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi in the rural Mississippi Delta. Born and raised in Maine, Doyle studied journalism at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont. In 2009, he moved to Mississippi to... read on
Public Story
Flood of Biblical Proportions
Copyright rory doyle 2021
Date of Work 12/31/69 - Ongoing
Updated 02/18/20
Location Mississippi
Archived as
A flood of Biblical proportions overtook more than a half-million acres of land in the rural Mississippi Delta for over five months in 2019. About half the acreage was farmland, causing devastating effects in region where agriculture is the lifeblood of the economy. For the first time on record, many farmers were unable to plant a single crop.

Efforts to prevent flooding in the region date back to 1941 when Congress approved a backwater drainage project. The multifaceted plan included a system of levees, canals and drainage structures. But one crucial element was never installed in an effort to protect a bordering hardwood wetland forest — drainage pumps that would push floodwater out of the backwater area and into the Mississippi River.

The changing climate in recent years has led to the perfect storm in this area — a historically high Mississippi River and record rainfall have created consistent flooding unimaginable to local farmers. Many residents are fearful of how this landscape will survive as changes become more drastic.

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