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Midwest governors hear flood brief from Army Corps

IARN — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recently joined governors from Missouri and Nebraska to discuss the recovery progress from the devastating Missouri River flooding of 2019.

Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Missouri Governor Mike Parson were briefed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at a joint meeting in Council Bluffs. It’s the fourth time the three governors have met on the topic since the damage took place two years ago.

Governor Reynolds said the southwest Iowa town of Hamburg recently signed an agreement with the Corps to raise the city’s “Ditch 6 Levee” eight feet. The governor noted that the city and other shareholders utilized the Water Resources Development Act, allowing non-federal funding to improve the levee.

“That is significant to Hamburg, that has been impacted over the past three floods,” said Reynolds. “It’s devastated the area. So, I appreciated them working together to find the flexibility to allow us to do that to build it to the height that the community and the state (wanted). It was our goal to get that done.”

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts outlined changes in the Corps’ approach to levee repairs.

“For example, we’re working with the state of Iowa on some of their project to, for example, raise the height there with the local funding,” said Ricketts. “They’re doing some innovative stuff with setbacks in Missouri. So, the Army corps is doing things differently, and picking up timelines, and making it faster to address the issues with regards to the Missouri River.”

Missouri Governor Mike Parson says flood recovery remains a priority even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“We haven’t let up on our obligation to work together to make sure we work more with the Corps,” Parson said. “We went to D.C. to talk to the federal delegations and got many people engaged. We sent that message out that we’re not going to wait until the next flood to do something and that this is a priority of all of us governors. That’s why we are here today again to make sure everybody knows we still have to deal with this along with many other things we do every day.”

Governor Ricketts says the next phase in the flood recovery process involves conducting studies in the next three-to-five years to determine changes that need to be made in the river’s management in the future.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

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