Missouri Task Force Advises On Flood Recovery, Response Measures

On the last day of 2019, a special task force in Missouri released its interim report on recommendations for recovering from the floods of 2019 and strengthening the state’s levees for future floods. A final report is due May 31.

Among the group’s interim recommendations: the Corps of Engineers should adjust district boundaries, transferring some counties from one district to another.

The group, called the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group, was established by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson with an executive order on July 18. Its 24 members included representatives from the Missouri Department of Agriculture (which convened and led the group), the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation and other farm groups, and representatives of levee districts.

Among the group’s key recommendations:

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  • Missouri should develop a resource guide for state and federal flood recovery assistance for flood protection infrastructure and agriculture.
  • Missouri should develop an enhanced flood monitoring system comparable to Iowa’s.
  • Missouri should continue to support ongoing coordination, led by the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association, to improve management of flooding, sediment, and drought in the Upper Mississippi River basin.
  • Missouri should assess and more accurately characterize impacts to agriculture from the 2019 flood events that may extend into the coming years. The assessment should consider total acres of prevented planting, the crops impacted, and the impact of prevented access by farmers to crop land to conduct recovery activities and begin work for upcoming seasons.
  • The governor and congressional delegations should support the development of a systematic approach to levee design on the Upper Mississippi River to ensure balanced protection.
  • The Corps should consider alternative regulatory requirements during disaster response to relieve some regulatory burden during response and recovery activities that restore base levels of protection from further flood impacts.
  • The Corps should consider “streamlining district coverage” in northern Missouri, meaning some Corps district boundaries should be readjusted. The report recommends that the Kansas City Engineer District cover Atchison County (currently within the Omaha Engineer District), and the St. Louis District should cover Clark, Lewis, Marion, Scotland, Knox and Shelby, Schuler and Adair counties, currently within the Rock Island District.

The group has held five meetings to date; full agendas, videos and meeting notes can be found at dnr.mo.gov/floodrecovery.

During the group’s first meeting, it heard testimony from four Corps districts (Kansas City, Omaha, St. Louis and Rock Island), the Federal Emergency Management Agency and three U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies.