You can’t have it both ways

‘Why don’t they just straighten the damn river?’

That’s a question that comes up a lot when flooding happens.

If only it were that simple.

When you straighten a meandering stream, it may indeed reduce the flooding over the land the stream meanders through. But it creates a rush into whatever body of water the stream empties into and a large increase in silt at that point.

Solve one problem – create another. This is exactly what happened at the other end of Lesser Slave Lake due to the straightening of the West and East Prairie Rivers in the 1960s. Less flooding on farmland, but quicker filling of Buffalo Bay by silt. Along with that came the loss of prime walleye spawning habitat. You can’t have it both ways.

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