San Antonio was not quite famous up until the early XX century, when it was struck by a natural disaster. In 1921, a massive flood destroyed the city and changed its landscape considerably. When one might have thought that the situation could not possibly get any worse, it became clear that, due to the flood, a large mass of toxic waste was washed into the river ( of 1921). Even though the effects of the flood are no longer noticeable, the given experience still provides several important lessons to learn.
Millers Point of View: An Economical Approach
When considering the effects of the flood, Miller stresses the negative effects of flood on the city. Therefore, in his assessment, Millers priority is civilization. However, the reconstruction of the city takes less time than the reconstruction of the environment destroyed by the flood, which is why the effects of the on the environment must be reassessed.
Environmental Impact: Counting the Losses
Needless to say, the destructive nature of floods brings considerable losses to the environment in which they occur. Being completely uncontrollable, of incredibly big mass and running at a very high speed, the San Antonio flood struck the environment of the city impressively, leaving vast barren lands behind.
It is worth mentioning, though, that the issues listed below can be related to the short-term changes in environment. The long-term changes, on the contrary, seem to be quite positive, which the next chapter is going to shed some light on.
Perhaps, one of the the destruction of the natural habitat for the and fauna. It is important to stress that the San Antonio natural habitat included the environment in which such species as a log perch and a long-eared sunfish, could develop.
However, once the landscape was changes as the flood influenced the topsoil and washed a number of elements away from the land, replacing them by new minerals, the traditional environment was changed. Unable to get accustomed to the new habitat, some of the species did not survive the change.
The river ecosystem has also suffered greatly. Perhaps, one of the most drastic changes concerning the state of microorganisms, as well as larger species, including fish, concerns the fact that the amount of suspended sediments in the river mass increased, therefore, leading to the death of the organisms that required clean water instead the suspension of minerals and soil that the river turned into after the flood.
City and nature: what does not mix
Industries have always had a negative impact on environment, yet, for the most part, industrial waste is transported to the places where it is relatively harmless for nature. In case of the San Antonio flood, however, a great part of domestic and industrial, often toxic waste was carried in a massive torrent and introduced into the river ecosystem.
As a result, many organisms suffered, the river algae being the one that has been affected the most. Once the algae, which was also food for many river dwellers, was destroyed, the latter faced the threat of dying out and many of them did.
It would be wrong, however, to assume that the environmental effects of the San Antonio flood were solely negative. Caused by natural factors, the flood was an integral part of the natural cycle and, therefore, contributed to the improvement of the environmental state, even though these improvements came at a price for the residents of the city.
Although the effects of the flood on the city structure, as well as agriculture, were drastic, in some sense, the flood helped set the stage for further environmental and, therefore, agricultural, improvements. Among the most notable results, the ones mentioned below are in the spotlight.
Soil is often taken for granted by the city dwellers; it rarely occurs to most of the city residents how fast minerals and natural resources are consumed by the crops, as well as washed away by the effects of industry. As a result, crops are most likely to become increasingly worse every year.
The given problem is traditionally solved by transfer of minerals and other resources to the fields. Floods, however, also contribute to the enrichment of soil in that they carry a number of minerals that area accumulated in the soil. Thus, after the flood of San Antonio, topsoil components replenishment occurred, which contributed to the improvement of the city environment an allowed for more options in agriculture (Hlzel and Otte 132).
Land mass elevation and the sea level
Another peculiar effect that the flood of San Antonio had on the city concerns the elevation of the land mass. With the increase of suspended sediments in topsoil, a considerable land mass elevation can be observed. The given phenomenon can be explained by the fact that topsoil elements allow for keeping the elevation at a relatively high level, since the land mass increases with the increase in the number of topsoil elements.
Consequently, the elevation of the landmass above the sea level in San Antonio rose greatly after the (Wilby and Keenan 349). In its turn, the increase of the altitude has contributed to a slight change in the San Antonio wildlife habitat, therefore, making it possible for endangered species to survive.
Suspended sediment load, which the San Antonio flood led to, can be considered as a major improvement in the environmental state of the land. As it has been stressed above, the replenishment of topsoil, which occurs during a flood, is crucial for agriculture; and, seeing how a rapid increase in the concentration of sediment in water leads to topsoil renewal, the San Antonio flood did affect agriculture in a very positive way (Ramakrishnan and Rajawat 1211).
In relation to the suspended sediments, the fact that the groundwater resources were finally replenished must be mentioned. Indeed, once the land was flooded, the water from the river basin percolated into the soil and reached the cavities, which the groundwater could usually be found in. As a result, the groundwater resources were finally renewed, which, again, was a major improvement of the environmental state of the city, for it created the factors for further restoration of the natural habitat and an increase in the number of species.