Oct 24, 2019

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pursues Flood Protection Efforts

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plans to build a levee for flood protection efforts in Missouri.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plans to build a levee for flood protection efforts in Missouri.

Col. John Hudson announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plans to build a levee along the Missouri River for flood protection efforts.

The USACE is working on a three-phase system restoration program and may consider other options beyond the levee.

According to Hudson, the main issue is a compromised levee system south of Omaha, Neb., which has more than 40 breaches between Council Bluffs and the Kansas/Nebraska state line. Almost a dozen of the breaches have been closed.

“We have been working closely with the state, Paul Trombino and Hamburg Mayor Kathy Crane. We are developing a plan. That hasn't been fully resolved. Current conditions on the ground are preventing us from executing that at this point in time,” Hudson said regarding plans specifically for Hamburg.

The Corps has closed almost a dozen of those breaches during the first of their three-phase response to fix the levee system.

Mitigating flooding in the area is challenging, as there are dozens of levee systems built to different standards. Existing open-exit breaches throughout the levee system allow flooded fields to drain but will flood fields once again as river levels rise, reported Missouri Valley Times News.

Despite record rainfall in the Dakotas through September, which has fallen on saturated ground, releases from Gavin's Point Dam will not be reduced and may be increased if increased rainfalls occur.

“You will continue to see that until we are able to get those outlet breaches closed this fall, and that is our phase two, which is restoring the system so we at least have a closed system to a 25-year level of protection,” said Hudson to the Missouri Valley Times. 

The third phase is a long-term project to determine how to improve the system for the future. 

The system will not be fully restored until the summer of 2020 at the earliest.

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