Scottsville can't engineer River solution

[Re: January 9 cover story: "Flooded with money, Scottsville surfaces"] (

I fondly remember many lazy afternoons skipping class and lounging around sucking back brews on the James, so I hope that Scottsville succeeds in carving out a place for itself in a nation so eager to discard its small towns.

But Scottsville's efforts ultimately serve to illustrate the twin folly of building things that can't get wet next to the river, and securing flood relief through engineered solutions.

After all, "100 year floods" aren't descending on Scottsville every five or 10 years because the Army Corps of Engineers can't count. It's because upstream communities have laid down more storm drains, straightened their creeks, and piled their levees high until they shed water like Gore-Tex raincoats– incrementally scouring the life out of the river and intensifying the floods that roll down the river to towns downstream, of which Scottsville is only one.

So what could Scottsville do besides jump on that bandwagon? I don't pretend to have an easy answer. However, it's apparent that the only ones who truly benefit from this never-ending cycle are the government agencies that pad their budgets by "fighting" floods. After all, now that they have armor-plated Scottsville with several million tax dollars, those bureaucrats have even more reason to expect an eager reception when they propose more of the same to city fathers further downstream on the James River.

Eric Eckl
Falls Church