Apr 05, 2019

Midwest Governors Request Change After Recent Flooding

Governors from three midwest states are seeking authority over river after recent floods

Governors from three midwest states are seeking authority over river after recent floods

Three Midwestern governors of states damaged by recent flooding on Wednesday, April 3, demanded more authority over management of the Missouri River system.

According to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, following a meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson were critical of the federal body that manages the river, saying it should prioritize flood control over other goals, such as protecting fish and wildlife habitat.

"One thing is clear, something needs to change," Parson told the Post-Intelligencer.

According to the Post-Intelligencer, the governors said they plan to work together for the change, even if it means petitioning Congress to give states more authority in river management.

Ricketts said that even when funding for reinforcement of levees is approved, it is often years before the work is actually done. Also, in some cases, flooding repeats before the work even starts.

"That permitting process has got to be faster," Ricketts told the Post-Intelligencer.

According to Reynolds, the governors would be presenting a united front to the federal government in demanding more authority.

"We can't continue to do things like build a temporary levee that would protect a community, and after the Corps deems the flood incident over, require them to tear it down," Reynolds said.

According to Post-Intelligencer, the Corps has said it works to balance all its priorities and much of the flooding was well out of its control. The agency said much of the water that created the flooding came from record rains and melting snow that flowed over frozen ground and into the river downstream of its dams, all while massive amounts of water filled Missouri River reservoirs and had to be released.

On Wednesday, the Corps released numbers showing record March runoff in the upper Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, of 11 million acre ft—nearly 4 million acre ft more than the previous record of 7.3 million set in 1952. According to The Corps, the average March upper basin runoff is 2.9 million acre ft.