The Associated Press obtained a copy of a June 28 letter in which Vilsack questions the Corps' decision not to release more water from dams earlier in the spring to prevent prolonged flooding this summer. The flooding followed spring rains and the melting of a deep Rocky Mountain snowpack.
The letters in question are an attempt to gauge farmers' interest in selling their lands to the federal government for wildlife habitat restoration. Farmers in Missouri and Iowa have been receiving the letters.
The federal Environmental Protection Association says it found no evidence of serious contamination in Mississippi River water released by the May 2 breech of the Birds Point levee in southeast Missouri.
The Army Corps of Engineers blew up the levee to relieve the flooding risk to Cairo, Ill. In doing so, it covered 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland with several feet of water.
Cities and towns along the Missouri River should begin preparing for major flooding in the next few weeks, according to federal officials.
The high water levels on the Missouri in the upper Great Plains are being blamed on a near-year’s worth of rainfall in a few week’s time -- and 140 percent more snowfall in the areas of the Rocky Mountains adjacent to the Missouri River basin.
The construction plan for a temporary levee at Birds Point got a gubernatorial boost today.
Beginning on May 2, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the levee at Birds Point on to relieve pressure on a strained Mississippi River system. The breech covered about 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland with water.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a plan to replace the earthen levee at the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway with mechanical gates.
The corps intentionally breached the levee May 2 to reduce the threat of major flooding from the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in nearby Cairo, Ill. The breach flooded 130,000 acres of prime Missouri farmland and damaged or destroyed as many as 100 homes.
Corps spokesman Jim Pogue told The Southeast Missourian that the corps will "look at all the alternatives" after it temporarily repairs the levee by March 1.
On Second Anniversary of Murders, Coleman Jury Deliberates
The jurors in the Christopher Coleman triple murder trial will begin a second day of deliberations. Coleman, a former Marine, is accused of strangling his wife and two sons in order to advance a love affair and protect his job working for Joyce Meyer Ministries.
Jurors began deliberating Wednesday, Day 8 of the trial. The defense opened their case Wednesday morning and called two witnesses: a handwriting expert and a forensic linguist.