Geologist presents flood solutions to University Council

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — In a nearly hour-long presentation, Bob Criss, a geological scientist, presented a 28-page Des Peres River flood report to the university city council.

“Flooding is definitely going to get worse,” Criss said. “Many people want to attribute this primarily to climate change … but the main factor is the narrowing of rivers.”

Criss proposed a number of solutions, including creating a website for the U-City Rainwater Commission; City personnel must maintain updated records of condemned properties, tightening impervious surface codes and requiring disclosure of flood history for rentals and home purchases.

“U-City has to do what U-City can do first,” Criss said.

When asked what the top priority on his list was, Criss simply said he should make sure the city’s flood warning system is connected to the emergency response system before the summer.

Criss identified a number of issues that contribute to Des Peres River flooding, including artificial diversions that have ruined the streams’ natural storage capacity, destruction of bank boundaries, construction of homes and businesses too close to the river, and a number of undersized bridges.

He said many of these issues needed to be seen in person, which he said the Army Corps of Engineers had not done.

“There’s a huge log stuck on your undersized bridge right now,” Criss said. “How should you know that? Do you think the army will tell you? I’m down there, not her.”

In his presentation, Criss said he spent hundreds of hours studying the river. Geologist presents flood solutions to University Council

Sarah Y. Kim

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