For people who have spent their lifetimes living along the Missouri River, it’s understandable if they have lost patience with the federal government’s efforts to control this muddy body of water. It just keeps escaping its banks in spite of all the money spent to try to control it.
In the 1930s and 1940s rock dikes were built up- and downstream that were supposed to control flooding, improve current flow for better navigation purposes, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assisted in levee-building to protect bottomland for farming, among other goals. Millions of dollars were spent on those projects. The result: minor success.
Farmers who grew weary of flooding established levee districts, built countless levees, many of which couldn’t handle floodwaters, and farmers moved out of the bottomlands.
This year flooding has been on some ground and facilities for several months. An example is the riverfront lower parking lot at Washington.
With record rainfall in some parts of the state this year, the Missouri Farm Bureau reported that in Missouri’s 125 years of modern rainfall records, the state has never seen more rainfall in the month of May than it did in 2019. Overall, for all months, this year’s May was the third-wettest month on record, according to Eric Bohl of the Farm Bureau.
More than 100 levees were breached or topped. The Corps of Engineers estimated levee damage in the Missouri River Basin could cost more than $1 billion to repair.
According to USDA data, the weather and flooding prevented Missouri farmers from planting over 1.3 million acres this spring.
A Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group has been appointed by Gov. Mike Parson. The Missouri Farm Bureau is one of 15 members. An initial report from the group is due by Dec. 31. The group’s mission is to make recommendations on how to improve the state’s flood recovery priorities and levee system, and to make recommendations for funding and where it could be the most effective, according to the Farm Bureau. A final report is due in May 2020.
The Missouri River is one of nature’s waterways that seems to be uncontrollable due to weather conditions. Can the weather be controlled? Up to now, it has held the upper hand.