Some relief from the flooding is noticeable around the Quad Cities.

The Mississippi River had fallen about two feet from its record crest of 22.7 feet just days ago.

It’s a difference that can be easily noticed from a week earlier in a little neighborhood on River Drive across from Credit Island. 

A week ago it was a fevered pitch to get sandbag walls in place, and now it’s quite as businesses and neighbors look to get back to normal.

One sign of that is the Credit Island Bait Shop is looking to reopen their doors this Friday morning. 

Lisa Benningfield, who works at the Credit Island Bait Shop said, “We won.”

The hard-fought and an exhaustive battle over or nearly so.

Benningfield said, “We’d be working from 7 am until 11 o’clock at night. We had a couple of guys up all day, all night.”

The flood fight of 2019 now receding into memory.

Benningfield said, “Thing now is just clean up pretty much for all of us.”

The pumps remain running, and floodwall will stay up in this area of River Drive in west Davenport near Credit island just in case the Mississippi River has other plans.

“We had about an inch to an inch and a half to play with. Towards the end when it did get to 22.7, we had to do a lot of add-ins, a lot of support add-in to the walls and then we did have about a half an inch to play with,” said Benningfield.

For Lisa Benningfield who works the Credit Island Bait Shop, it’s more than just a flood fight that will go down in history.

Benningfield said, “Remembering the flood back in 93, and my grandma lived on the Mississippi, this, this was the worst.”

Associate Professor Reuben Heine at Augustana College says while sometimes that hindsight can be anecdotal, he was part of a research team that found it to be the case in some parts of the Mississippi River. 

Associate Professor Reuben Heine said, “Can we show it in the data that the floods are higher today than in the past and it turned out most of them [river gauges] do show an increase in flood levels.” 

Professor Heine has been studying rivers and flooding for the last 20 years including extensive research of into a long stretch of the Mississippi River over more than 130 years of records.
He said there are two main factors, how much water is coming in and how the river is being shaped.

Heine said, “The channel over time has changed, both through natural processes as well as river engineering.”

Things like dams and levees along with natural factors alter the flow.

“You have a continuity in the amount of water that’s coming downstream, but the variables change as the river is squeezed, as it goes past bridges, as it goes past levee cells and this will change the relative heights of those waters, and that’s what really matters,” said Heine. 

When it comes to the flood of 2019, learning all it has to provide will take some time.

Heine said, “The numbers are all in, now it’s a matter of working through the data to make sense of it.”

Heine’s Research can be viewed: (Here: Levee effects upon flood levels: an empirical assessment) and (Here CUMULATIVE IMPACTS OF RIVER ENGINEERING, MISSISSIPPI AND LOWER MISSOURI RIVERS)

A historical map of the river can be viewed here.