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Corps plans to rebuild Birds Point levee shorter than original height

(via Flickr/NASA Earth Observatory)
Satellite images show the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway before (bottom) and after (top) the intentional breach of the levee.

The Army Corps of Engineers now plans to rebuild the Birds Point levee in southeast Missouri to 55 feet, four feet higher than originally scheduled.

Even with the extra four feet, however, the levee is actually being rebuilt shorter than it was before it was intentionally breached to relieve flooding pressure on the Mississippi River.

The corps says it still hopes to eventually rebuild the levee to 62.5 feet - its height before the explosion. However, there is currently no federal money available to get to that height.

The decision to raise the levee height to 55 feet announced Thursday comes amid concerns raised by residents in the area of the levee.

The levee is part of a floodway designed to be breached in cases of extreme flooding. Other floodways also were opened in Louisiana during the flood, which was among the worst ever along the lower Mississippi River.

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