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Professional Paper 1798

2011 Floods of the Central United States

About this Volume

The Central United States experienced record-setting flooding during 2011, with floods that extended from headwater streams in the Rocky Mountains, to transboundary rivers in the upper Midwest and Northern Plains, to the deep and wide sand-bedded lower Mississippi River. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), as part of its mission, collected extensive information during and in the aftermath of the 2011 floods to support scientific analysis of the origins and consequences of extreme floods. The information collected for the 2011 floods, combined with decades of past data, enables scientists and engineers from the USGS to provide syntheses and scientific analyses to inform emergency managers, planners, and policy makers about life-safety, economic, and environmental-health issues surrounding flood hazards for the 2011 floods and future floods like it. USGS data, information, and scientific analyses provide context and understanding of the effect of floods on complex societal issues such as ecosystem and human health, flood-plain management, climate-change adaptation, economic security, and the associated policies enacted for mitigation.

Among the largest societal questions is "How do we balance agricultural, economic, life-safety, and environmental needs in and along our rivers?" To address this issue, many scientific questions have to be answered including the following:

  • How do the 2011 weather and flood conditions compare to the past weather and flood conditions and what can we reasonably expect in the future for flood magnitudes?
  • What is the “natural” hydrology of these watersheds and how have they been changed?
  • How do rivers change during floods and what effects do they have on the natural and built environment: conversely, what effects do the natural and built environments have on rivers and floods?
  • Do floods contribute to the transport and fate of contaminants that affect human and ecosystem health?

In an effort to help address these and other questions, USGS Professional Paper 1798 consists of independent but complementary chapters dealing with various scientific aspects of the 2011 floods in the Central United States.

Chapters in this Series

The links below provide more information and a download link for each chapter document.

  • PP1798-B
    General Weather Conditions and Precipitation Contributing to the 2011 Flooding in the Mississippi River and Red River of the North Basins, December 2010 through July 2011
    By Kevin C. Vining, Katherine J. Chase, and Gina R. Loss
  • PP1798-C
    Peak Streamflows and Runoff Volumes for the Central United States, February through September, 2011
    By Robert R. Holmes, Jr., Gregg J. Wiche, Todd A. Koenig, and Steven K. Sando
  • PP1798-D
    Annual Exceedance Probabilities and Trends for Peak Streamflows and Annual Runoff Volumes for the Central United States During the 2011 Floods
    By Daniel G. Driscoll, Rodney E. Southard, Todd A. Koenig, David A. Bender, and Robert R. Holmes, Jr.
  • PP1798-E
    Documenting the Stages and Streamflows Associated With the 2011 Activation of the New Madrid Floodway, Missouri
    By Todd A. Koenig and Robert R. Holmes, Jr.
  • PP1798-F
    Sediment Transport and Deposition in the Lower Missouri River During the 2011 Flood
    By Jason S. Alexander, Robert B. Jacobson, and David L. Rus
  • PP1798-G
    Occurrence and Transport of Nutrients in the Missouri River Basin, April through September 2011
    By Stephen J. Kalkhoff
  • PP1798-H
    Geomorphic Changes Caused by the 2011 Flood at Selected Sites Along the Lower Missouri River and Comparison to Historical Floods
    By Kyle E. Juracek
  • PP1798-I
    Geomorphic Change on the Missouri River During the Flood of 2011
    By Edward R. Schenk, Katherine J. Skalak, Adam J. Benthem, Benjamin J. Dietsch, Brenda K. Woodward, Gregg J. Wiche, Joel M. Galloway, Rochelle A. Nustad, and Cliff R. Hupp
  • PP1798-J
    Monitoring of Levees, Bridges, Pipelines, and Other Critical Infrastructure During the 2011 Flooding in the Mississippi River Basin
    By Brenda K. Densmore, Bethany L. Burton, Benjamin J. Dietsch, James C. Cannia, and Richard J. Huizinga
  • PP1798-K
    The Effects of Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System Operations on 2011 Flooding Using a Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System Model
    By Adel E. Haj, Daniel E. Christiansen, and Roland J. Viger
  • PP1798-L
    Ecosystem Effects in the Lower Mississippi River Basin
    By D. Phil Turnipseed, Yvonne C. Allen, Brady R. Couvillion, Karen L. McKee, and William C. Vervaeke

First posted August 5, 2013

For additional information contact:
Chief, Office of Surface Water
U.S. Geological Survey
415 National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192


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