Gov. Nixon critical on Corps to reform master plan.

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Photo by Kyle Quick, taken during summer flooding.

Missouri News Horizon
. – Gov. Jay Nixon renewed his call for the Corp of Engineers to reform its master plan for flood control along the Missouri River, saying they should read deeper into a recently released report on last year’s major flood event.

Earlier this week, an independent review commission of the 2011 flood released its findings regarding Corps of Engineer actions and how theycontributed to the flood.

Although the commission said the Corps was not at fault for the flood, they said the corps may want to consider changing it’s master plan in order to keep water levels lower at different times of the year in order to allow more leeway for flood control in the future.

“I think that this report continues to lend credence to the necessary shift that must occur to give we down stream states more flood protection,” Nixon said.

Nixon and many other downstream politicians and property owners have been highly critical of the Corps’ master plan, which they say favors upstream wildlife interests. Specifically, their ire has been focused on the annual “spring rise” where the corps hold back higher levels of water in the reservoirs upstream to help foster fish mating.

Without these rises, Nixon and others argue that the corps may have been able to prevent or minimize flooding when an unexpectedly large rainfall just before the annual snowmelt last year caused uncontrolled amounts of water to flow into the river.

Many Missouri lawmakers, including Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill have called on the Corps to make flood control its first priority.

For it’s part, the Corps has said that it acted prudently in regard to the master plan – arguing they had not scientific reason to anticipate that such a large rain event last year would be likely. This defense is born out by the findings of the independent review commission.

Nevertheless, the Corps this year plan to suspend the annual spring rise to help the river return to normal water flow levels by the annual snowmelt in late spring.