This story was produced in collaboration with PBS News Hour.

By Josh Landis

Over the centuries the United States has deployed vast fortunes and an untold number of workers to divert, dam and contain the Mississippi River. The unruly waterway remains one of the greatest challenges facing the Army Corps of Engineers, which is tasked with ensuring the river remains navigable and with protecting surrounding communities from floods.

In the age of climate change, that job is getting harder.

Rainstorms upstream are growing bigger more fearsome, filling the Mississippi with extra water, leading to flooding downstream. Extreme weather — a hallmark of climate change — means the river and everyone who depends on it are increasingly vulnerable.

In 2019, Nexus Media News teamed up with PBS NewsHour Weekend to explore how climate change is shaping life and commerce up and down the Mississippi. From Minnesota to Iowa to Missouri to Louisiana, the series documents the growing challenges facing Americans along the more than two thousand miles of river.


Josh Landis writes for Nexus Media, a nonprofit climate change news service.