Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the barge industry are imploring the federal government to keep water flowing on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers or face potential "economic disaster."
The drought has left many waterways at historic lows. Nixon sent a letter Friday urging the Army Corps of Engineers to rethink plans to reduce the amount of water released from the Missouri's upstream reservoir. That would also reduce flow on the Mississippi below St. Louis.
A Corps of Engineers study says more research and monitoring are needed to reduce the likelihood of damage along the Missouri River in future floods.
The study released Monday focuses on remaining vulnerabilities after the Missouri River rose to record levels last year. The flooding began after the corps released massive amounts of water from upstream reservoirs filled by melting snow and heavy rain.
Most repairs to damaged levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are expected to be finished before next spring. Work on the river's dams expected to take longer.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his administration is keeping tabs on river levels along the Missouri and Mississippi as drought conditions persist across the state. He indicates that the Missouri River may be in worse shape.
“I think that the challenges on the Missouri are a little more significant than the Mississippi," Nixon said at a gathering Wednesday in Jefferson City. "Minnesota has had a fair amount of rain in that part of the country, but we’re watching those issues very carefully.”
An increase in free space within reservoirs would not have made much of a difference in last year’s record flooding along the Missouri River, according to a report released today by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Jody Farhat, the Corps’ Chief Water Manager for the Missouri River, says a higher amount of free space would have only reduced last year’s flooding, not prevented it.
“Due to the tremendous volume of water, we still would have had very high record releases from the reservoirs," Farhat said. "We still would have had a significant flood event in the Missouri basin."