Last month, while hiking atop a ridge on the west side of Columbia, Missouri, my wife and I noticed that a portion of the Perche Creek floodplain had been cleared. In addition, a diversion canal had been constructed, apparently designed to "handle" high water levels in the creek. A new access road, which we crossed, was gated and was clearly built for traffic other than farm tractors. Since that experience, we have learned that the floodplain will indeed be "developed," though we do not know if it will be residential or commercial construction.
In this era of global warming, we have observed catastrophic inland flooding in California, Kentucky, Europe, Pakistan and, most recently, New Zealand. One wonders what the development company is thinking and how they can secure insurance coverage for their project.
Of course, they are not merely developing the floodplain; they are destroying the floodplain ecosystem. While removing yet another parcel of natural habitat, home to countless plant and animal species, they are putting humans at risk as well. Until Federal, State and local officials restrict development in flood-prone areas, tragic consequences will continue to occur, both for nature and for human society.