The Mississippi is a major river spanning almost half of the USA. The river used to flood and the channel moved around the floodplain. This made navigation difficult so people attempted to manage the river. Strategies involved dykes, levees, dams and river straightening. This solved the flooding problem as the river flowed faster over a shorter distance. In 1993 the management techniques failed and large areas flooded. People now question whether or not we can control natural processes.
Students could take a case study river and decide what measures they might take to manage it. They should assess the pros and cons of each system and come up with informed choices. Update examination of the Mississippi by looking at the failure of levees during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Consider what measures can be taken to mitigate against flood events and debate how such events will be affected by climate change.