From the linked piece, above: "Plowed fields have replaced tallgrass prairies. Fields have been meticulously drained with underground pipes. Streams and creeks have been straightened. Most of the wetlands are gone. Flood plains have been filled and developed. "We've done numerous things to the landscape that took away these water-absorbing functions," [Professor Kamyar Enshayan] said. "Agriculture must respect the limits of nature."
Agriculture of the last 60 years is nothing if not disrespectful. It's not unlike the miles and miles of wetland which used to exist around New Orleans and below it, at the delta of the Mississippi. Wetlands function not only as a natural water filter, but also as a buffer against flooding and wave formation along coastal cities. Most of our coastal wetlands have slowly been drained over time for development, and in the case of New Orleans, to devastating results.
There is a complicated solution, but a solution nonetheless: If the floodplain along the Mississippi was allowed to regenerate tall prairie grass and wetlands, and if no one lived in it or farmed it, flooding (as it effects people and economies) would be a very rare occurrence indeed. Of course, there is the daunting task of relocating towns and farms. It may take a generation or three, but would be one more big step towards living in harmony with nature, not fighting it.