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DNR partnering on solutions for lower Missouri River flood risk management

2019 Missouri River flooding in southwest Iowa/Photo courtesy of Fremont County EMA

Many southwest Iowa farmers currently impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were also affected by the Missouri River floods of 2019.

It’s been over a year since major flooding took place along the Missouri River. Since that devastating event, efforts have taken place to repair damaged levees to try and help prevent future flood occurrences. The Iowa DNR recently announced its seeking public input in studying problems and solutions to Missouri River flooding.

Tim Hall is the hydrology resources coordinator with the Iowa DNR. He says multiple past flooding incidents along the same areas of the river have prompted DNR officials to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a comprehensive study.

“As you know, we saw significant flooding in a number of recent years along the river,” said Hall. “We just want to figure out if there’s a way to identify areas that are really problematic. We’ve had flooding in 2011, 2019, 2010, and we want to try to figure out where the problems areas are, and prioritize those, and allow the corps to provide some data on what the solutions might be.”

Hall says the first phase of the study will be the release of a short introductory video, followed by a series of virtual meetings with stakeholders next month.

“We’ll have a series of virtual meetings, listen to the stakeholders, talk about where those problem areas might be, collect a list of those, talk about what the potential solutions might be,” said Hall. “We’re going to take our list of prioritized areas, and we’re going to submit that to the corps, along with Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, so that the corps can have a comprehensive list of problem areas along the river. And, not problems areas that we think are a problem, or that the corps thinks are a problem, but the people who live along the river think are problem areas.”

Hall noted that the information gathered and analysis completed will be documented in a flood risk management plan for the entire lower Missouri River, which can be used at the state and local level to help inform flood risk management decisions moving forward.

The project is a partnership between the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Kansas Water Office, and the Kansas City and Omaha districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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