Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "levees" ...

  • ProPublica: Flood Thy Neighbor

    The U.S. has long built levees to protect communities from floods, but levees have a side effect: by lowering flood risk in one area, they actually raise the flood risks for neighboring towns. Our multimedia series uses maps, videos and interactives — including a giant diorama of a flowing river that we designed with university researchers — to show how current levee policies are flawed, and the consequences for local residents.
  • Katrina 10: The New Levees

    Of all the questions asked about New Orleans’ progress 10 years after the disaster that killed nearly 1,500 residents and clouded its future, the most persistent has been this: Is it safer now? Interviews with engineers and storm experts for the "Katrina 10: The New Levees" investigation, by The Weather Channel and The Lens, resulted in answers filled with caveats and concerns. The best summation: It’s safer for houses, but not necessarily for the people who live in them.
  • The Putah Creek Legacy

    This series explored the history, impact, and implications of a 25-year, $12 million river restoration project along Lower Putah Creek, a small waterway that runs along the border of Yolo and Solano counties in northern California. Putah Creek has been managed for human use for almost 150 years: a new channel rerouted it around the town of Davisville in the 1870s, levees were erected along it in the 1940s, and a dam halted and diverted its flow in the 1950s. Its story mimics hundreds of other rivers, streams and creeks throughout California. It would be largely unremarkable save for a lawsuit that thrust it to the forefront of restoration ecology.
  • American's Neglected Levees

    Scripps reviewed the federal and state level system of levee oversight and found that no one at any level of government knows where all levees are, what they protect or what shape they are in. Thousands of communities are being forced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get levees certified under a national upgrade of flood hazard maps, but even FEMA admits the standards are outdated and don't accurately reflect the risks to people behind them.
  • The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

    The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is the topic in this book by noted historian Douglas Brinkley. He finds out how and why the evacuation was botched, relief efforts were delayed, and also "incidents of racism and brutality on the part of local police." He also examines how the Coast Guard and local citizens banded together to save people from the flood. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin denied much of the charges in the book, but later acknowledged the truth of them publicly.
  • Hurricane Katrina: How New Orleans' Levees Failed

    The reporters investigated how the New Orleans levee system, built to protect the city from flooding, failed when Hurricane Katrina hit. The authors found that a large part of the problem with the levees boiled down to human error - mistakes that cost hundreds of lives.
  • Investigating Broken Levees

    Levee experts commissioned to study the flooding of New Orleans testify that the Army Corps of Engineers contractors' work on the New Orleans levees was substandard. The experts quoted contacted the NewsHour and the New York Times exclusively to publicize the information
  • Katrina Investigations

    This series of investigations on the local and federal governments' response to Hurricane Katrina revealed numerous mistakes and inefficiencies at multiple levels. The investigation showed mismanagement of the levees, unused buses that could have been used for evacuation, botched supply shipments, corrupt contracting and port police's failure to rescue survivors.
  • Flood Threat

    The authors found that 30,000 homes in San Joaquin County, CA were built in areas prone to flooding. Furthermore, the levees protecting the homes are unstable and insufficient.
  • Defenses Decayed

    Sacramento Bee reporters look at the vulnerability of local levees which keep the city from being flooded. The report shows levees in vast disrepair, while flood protection funding is being cut back by state lawmakers. The levees are in desparate need of repair and need to be updated. Many are concerned that there will be a massive flood much like the one in 1997, which killed six people and forced the evacuation of 120,000.