Letters To The Editor

Letter To The Editor: Missouri Flooding

Another Missouri River flood, another round of nonsense, not always from the usual suspects. You can always count on Tony Messenger with the St. Louis Post Dispatch to contribute to the nonsense.

The reason wetlands are called wetlands is they are already soaked up with water prior to a flood.

[Missouri Gov. Mike] Parson went in way over his head and came to some conclusions that make a person wonder why he didn’t do a better job of communicating with his own cabinet. Can it be that he doesn’t know the difference between a dam built for flood storage, and a dam that is built as a flow-through dam for the sole purpose of generating electricity? Even if there was a way to do it, and there isn’t, doubling the storage capacity of the Gavin’s Point dam from its current 400,000 acre feet to 800,000 acre feet capacity would have not changed the outcome by a measurable amount.

Then there are those who are left. Some of the farmers who were flooded by the 2011 flood raised the height of their grain storage bins by as much as 10 feet before building a raised concrete foundation for the bin itself. Some did the same with their homes and other buildings. They may have to visit them by boat, but damage is minimal. Whatever happened to the self-sufficient farmers that were the first-, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth generation farmers who never saw a federal levy, but still were successful farmers? Who did they have to blame for floods?

Now, let’s deal with navigation.

Navigation was, for the most part, an unintended benefit of flood  control. In order to provide successful flood control, the water behind the dams had to be released each year to get ready for the next year. To avoid creating more chance of flooding, it was concluded this release would have to be spread over eight months to evacuate the necessary amount of water.

Water released in the winter risked infrastructure damage because of ice buildup in the reservoirs at high release rates, and ice gorges in the river sections. The logical conclusion was April 1 to December 1, which would cause the most benefit for irrigation, navigation, recreation, etc.

The farmers, cities, boat landings, and everyone else benefit from bank stabilization, which also benefits navigation. Even if navigation didn’t exist, very little would change, because it is still imperative to release water every year.

Navigation will always be the scapegoat for some interests after a flood, but now they take their turn with environmentalists and levee builders.

Of course, if nothing else works, you can always blame the Army Corps of Engineers.

What causes me concern is there is no self-sufficiency in this country any more. How many sixth-generation farmers will there be if they no longer are able to figure out how to solve their own problems? Right now I am betting on the guy who was smart enough to build his home and grain storage bins on higher ground after the 2011 flood. That’s a start.

Capt. Bill Beacom

Sioux City, Iowa