Paving over wetlands and forcing rivers into unnaturally narrow channels have long been cited as two ways that humans have contributed to more frequent floods. But now several professors are pointing a finger at wingdikes, the underwater structures that the Army Corps of Engineers uses to guide river waters to the center of channels. According to the professors' study, such devices are increasing the severity of Mississippi River flooding by up to 18 feet in some locations. "River engineering is the 800-pound gorilla driving these flood levels higher," said one of the researchers.
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