Cape Cod National SeashoreAug. 7, 1961: U.S. President John F. Kennedy creates the Cape Cod National Seashore (at right), protecting the increasingly popular coastal resort from overdevelopment. As a U.S. senator, Kennedy had helped lead the fight for creation of the national seashore, which had been opposed by many local residents who feared it would limit economic growth on the Cape.

Aug. 7, 1975: When the Banqiao Dam was built in the 1950s, the Chinese Communist Party boasted that it could withstand a 1-in-1,000-years flood. Twenty years later, flooding from Typhoon Nina ruptures the dam. Casualty estimates range from 90,000 to a quarter million dead.

Aug. 7, 1978: U.S. President Jimmy Carter declares an emergency, offering funds to relocate the 239 homes closest to the Love Canal toxic waste dump in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Despite reports of illnesses and birth defects well beyond these closest homes, other residents are left out of the order.

Photo: National Park Service

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.