River management issues
5:38 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Gov. Nixon, Mo. congressional delegates, want levees rebuilt

Governor Jay Nixon (D) and nearly half of Missouri’s congressional delegation are pledging to rebuild levees and pursue policies that will make massive water releases from dams unnecessary in the future.

They addressed this issue at a meeting of Missouri Farm Bureau members at the State Fair in Sedalia today.

Nixon said that federal officials who oversee locks and dams on the Missouri River need to make flood control their top priority.  In the meantime, he pledged that every damaged levee in Missouri would be rebuilt.

“It’s gonna take us some weeks to get the full damage assessment, perhaps even months if the water stays where it is, but we will get that," Nixon said.  "We’ll work with the General Assembly to make sure we have the tools to pay for it, we'll work for those (federal matching dollars) that are necessary so that everybody, with full confidence, can begin the process of rebuilding as quickly as possible.”

Nixon is scheduled to attend a meeting in Omaha on Friday with governors from other Missouri River states and discuss whether river management policies need to be changed.

Record amounts of water have been released this year from the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota, due to heavy snow melt and heavier-than-expected rainfall, causing flooding along the river.

The Army Corps of Engineers also detonated the Bird’s Point Levee along the Mississippi River in southeastern Missouri to protect the town of Cairo, Illinois.  U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) told Farm Bureau members that the Corps has done a good job of managing a “not very good plan.”

“The Corps, as you know, has reported, ‘we’ve got the money to put the base of the levee back up at Bird's Point to 51 feet...we don’t have the money to put the last 11 feet (back up) that becomes the permanent structure of the levee,' and I couldn’t resist saying, ‘we told you this would be a problem when you blew the levee up,'" Blunt said.

Also speaking at the Farm Bureau event were 2nd District Missouri Congressman Todd Akin (R), 4th District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R), 7th District Congressman Billy Long (R), and 9th District Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R).