Missouri River Flooding 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri River Flooding 2011

Roger Ideker's farm in St. Joseph, Mo. during the 2011 Missouri River flood. Ideker is the lead plaintiff in the suit against the corps.
Ideker Farms

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responsible for extensive property damage caused as a result of recurring floods along the Missouri River. 

A group of 372 farmers, landowners and business owners in several Midwestern states filed suit against the Corps of Engineers in March 2014, alleging that the federal agency's actions contributed to five floods along the Missouri River since 2007. Senior Judge Nancy Firestone ruled on Tuesday that the Corps of Engineers was liable for damages caused by recurring floods.

via Flickr/MissouriDNRPhoto

Progress has been made on one of two flood-damaged state parks in northwest Missouri.

Big Lake and Lewis & Clark State Parks were underwater for several weeks during last summer’s severe flooding along the Missouri River.  Lewis and Clark, about 20 miles southwest of St. Joseph, has reopened for day use only.  Missouri State Parks Superintendent Bill Bryan says the campground is still closed.

(via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Jay Woods)

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."

Morning headlines: Friday, April 13, 2012

Apr 13, 2012
(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Parks again rejects Durbin's call for earlier night club closings

East St. Louis mayor Alvin Parks is again rejecting a call from Sen. Dick Durbin to institute an earlier closing time for the city’s night clubs and liquor stores

Durbin was in his hometown on Wednesday encouraging area ministers to push Parks for a 1 a.m. closing time. Durbin believes it would help curb the killings in a city that a federal prosecutor has called the nation’s most dangerous.

Missouri gets $16.5M for temp Mo. River, Joplin cleanup jobs

Apr 3, 2012
(UPI/Rick Meyer)

Missouri will receive a $16.5 million federal grant to fund temporary jobs aimed at helping with large-scale recovery efforts from the 2011 Joplin tornado and from flooding around the state last year.

The U.S. Department of Labor said in a release Tuesday that the $16.5 million grant is from the National Emergency Grant program.

Corps meets deadline in Missouri River levee repairs

Feb 29, 2012
(via Wikimedia Commons/DEMIS Mapserver/Shannon 1)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has met its deadline on the most critical levee repairs on the Missouri River from Omaha and Council Bluffs to just below the Missouri border at Rockport and the levees are ready to handle high water again.

The corps says five breaches have been closed and several damaged segments have been repaired from last summer's historic flooding.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 11, 2012 - WASHINGTON - As a record deluge surged toward the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers last spring, officials had to decide whether to save the town of Cairo, Ill., by flooding 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland and its small communities.

(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Photo by Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk)

Reporting from KXCV's Kirk Wayman also used in this report.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it's unlikely that all the levees damaged by record flooding along the Missouri River last summer will be repaired by spring - and that's changing the way the Corps manages the river.

(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Jay Woods)

Updated 4:13 p.m.

An independent panel says the US Army Corps of Engineers did what it could to prevent this year's record flooding along the Missouri River but that changes will be needed to manage increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

Hydrologist Bill Lawrence of the National Weather Service participated in the panel review and says Montana's record-breaking rainfall in May contributed to unprecedented runoff downstream.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 20, 2011 - WASHINGTON - An expert panel that scrutinized the management of the Missouri River during this year's severe flooding suggests a "re-evaluation" of the master manual's guidance on how the Army Corps of Engineers should deal with such extreme events.

US senators seek review of Mo. River flooding

Dec 8, 2011
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Photo by Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk)

U.S. senators from seven Missouri River states are asking the Government Accountability Office to examine this summer's heavy flooding throughout the river basin.

The request was supported by 13 senators who are part of the Missouri River Working Group. The group includes senators from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 8, 2011 - WASHINGTON - After being pummeled by lawmakers at U.S. House and Senate hearings, the Army Corps of Engineers now faces an inquiry by a federal watchdog agency into how it managed the Missouri River during this year's record floods.

Corps of engineers warns of SE Mo. flood risk

Dec 5, 2011
(via Flickr/NASA Earth Observatory)

The Army Corps of Engineers says it's likely there will be more flooding along a Mississippi River floodway in southeast Missouri that was inundated earlier this year.

The corps says that based on forecasts of unseasonably high river levels there is a "significant risk" of more flooding along the Birds Point Floodway in the near future.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov 30, 2011 - WASHINGTON -- Criticized by Missouri lawmakers, farmers and local officials for the response to this year's Missouri River flooding, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commander on Wednesday promised a more flexible and aggressive approach to managing the river to avoid a repeat of the devastating flood.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it’s changing its short-term approach to managing water levels on the Missouri River, following devastating flooding this summer in Missouri, Iowa and North Dakota.

Jody Farhat is chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management office in Omaha.  She says the Corps of Engineers will be more flexible this fall and winter in evacuating as much water as possible along the Missouri ahead of next year’s runoff season.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 18, 2011 - WASHINGTON - River levels may be falling now, but fears are rising in some states along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers that another extremely wet season and slow progress in levee repairs could lead to more flooding next spring. At a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, a parade of senators -- including Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. -- took the Army Corps of Engineers to task for its river management and urged the agency to make flood control a higher priority in its master plan for the Missouri River.

Morning headlines: Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oct 18, 2011
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Nixon to announce details of China trip

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says state officials expect to finalize billions of dollars of export agreements during an upcoming trade trip to China. Nixon plans to announce more details of the trip today during a visit to a Cargill soybean processing facility in Kansas City.

The governor said Monday the trip will allow the state to sign export agreements with Chinese agencies and provide a chance for numerous Missouri businesses to close deals with Chinese customers.

Reduction in Missouri River flow ahead of schedule

Sep 28, 2011
(via Flickr/Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Susan Abbott )

The Army Corps of Engineers says flooding along the Missouri River in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri should end a few days sooner than predicted.

The Corps has been gradually reducing the amount of water being released from the six dams upstream since Aug. 19. Throughout the summer, roughly 160,000 cubic feet of water per second was being released from the dam near Yankton, S.D. creating flooding along the entire lower Missouri River.

(via Flickr/USACEpublicaffairs)

The federal government has approved the disaster declaration for six counties in northwest Missouri that were pounded by flooding along the Missouri River.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Friday that eligible residents of Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Holt, Lafayette and Platte counties can seek federal assistance uninsured property that was lost to the flood. Eligible expenses include temporary housing, home repair, and the replacement of household items.  

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 8, 2011 - WASHINGTON - As the Army Corps starts its "gradual drawdown" of water from the swollen Missouri River reservoirs, U.S. senators from the river states -- including Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. -- are asking the agency to detail its plan to avoid a 2012 rerun of this year's flooding.

Senators want to know Mo. River flood plan

Aug 8, 2011
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Photo by Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk)

Senators from states lining the Missouri River are asking the Army Corps of Engineers to outline plans for next year's flood preparations.

The senators say in a letter sent to top Corps officials on Monday that the agency must learn from this year's devastating flood season and apply those lessons to next year's plan.

The delegation is also asking what authority the Corps has to make changes to its annual operating plan for the river, and whether any additional authority will be needed.

Missouri River dam releases to be cut in August

Jul 29, 2011
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Jay Woods)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to significantly reduce the amount of water being released into the Missouri River in late August and September.

Brig. Gen. John McMahon outlined the plan for bringing an end to flooding along the river.

The corps has been releasing massive amounts of water from the six dams along the river to deal with heavy spring rains and above-average mountain snowpack.

Morning headlines: Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jul 28, 2011
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Heat wave decreases flood threat on Missouri River

The heat wave that's plagued Missouri for most of July has had a positive side effect:  it's lessened the flood threat along the Missouri River between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Mark Fuchs is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in St. Louis.  Fuchs said the extreme high temperatures have dried up the soil along the Missouri River's tributaries.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 25, 2011 - WASHINGTON - It's been a year of disasters, with twisters devastating Joplin and Tuscaloosa, floods inundating lowlands along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, and other destructive events ranging from ice jams in Alaska to tsunami waves in Hawaii.

Missouri River flooding hurts barge industry

Jul 25, 2011
(via Flickr/roberthuffstutter)

After years of drought, barge operators along the Missouri River got more rain than they had hoped for this year.

The industry had grown optimistic when rising river levels appeared to promise an increase in barge traffic this year. The Missouri Department of Transportation even projected a 15 percent to 20 percent increase.

But then the rains started, causing flooding along the 675-mile stretch from Sioux City, Iowa, to St. Louis. That prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to close the river between Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota and Glasgow, Mo.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 19, 2011 - WASHINGTON - In the wake of this summer's severe flooding, members of Congress from Missouri have been mounting what appears to be a systematic effort to slash studies and efforts that aim to restore the ecosystems along the now-swollen Missouri River -- even though many analysts feel that such restoration can help lessen future flooding.

Corps to trim key Missouri River dam releases

Jul 12, 2011
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Jay Woods)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will reduce water releases from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota, a sign that major Missouri River flooding could be nearing an end.

The corps' Omaha District construction chief, Robert Michaels, says the corps will decrease the water volume gradually from its current 160,000 cubic feet per second. The corps plans to drop the flow to 155,000 cubic feet per second on July 31 and cut it to 150,000 cubic feet per second on Aug. 1.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 11, 2011 - When torrents of rain poured into the lower Mississippi River this spring, most of that record flow was contained by federal levees or diverted into floodways and spillways as part of a system focused on limiting flooding.

In contrast, the relentless rain and snowmelt that surged into the upper Missouri River entered a far different system -- a series of reservoirs whose dams usually can be controlled like giant spigots -- that was designed not only to limit flooding but also to influence navigation, power generation, irrigation, recreation and wildlife.

Morning headlines: Monday, July 11, 2011

Jul 11, 2011
flickr/rcbodden

Dangerously hot in St. Louis Metro area Monday and Tuesday

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Monday and Tuesday due to extreme temperatures and humidity.

John Carney with the National Weather Service says heat index values will range from 110 to 115 degrees.

Ag secretary questions Corps on Missouri flooding

Jul 8, 2011
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Photo by Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is taking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to task for its handling of the Missouri River, which has flooded thousands of acres of farmland in seven states.

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.

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