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Governors Ask Corps To Review River Management

October 1, 2011, 10:00 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Governors Ask Corps To Review River Management
OMAHA, NE - The Missouri River flooding is over. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday night that the river has fallen below flood stages from Montana to St. Louis.

Now the discussion is moving to preventing another disaster, and the leaders of five states are at odds with the Corps about exactly how that should happen

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard travelled to Omaha Monday to meet with five other governors whose states were also hit by the Missouri River flooding this summer. Nearly all of them are on the same page in asking the Army Corps of Engineers to take a second look at its policies and manage the river so it never threatens states this badly again.

"We'll have a heightened sense of the concern that we all share as governors about the need to respond as quickly as possible to threats of flooding earlier in the year if possible," Daugaard said.

Daugaard says that's what the U-S Army Corps Engineers needs to take into account. The 500-year flood devastated communities along the Missouri. Swamped residents were quick to blame the Corps' river management. Now, governors from those states are doing the same, blaming its reporting structure and water level policies.

"The Army Corps of Engineer can only gauge what information it has available. And if the information available is not as good of quality as you want, then the decision-making won't be as of good a quality as you want," Daugaard said.

The strength in numbers is what may make the Corps listen to leaders whose opinions it normally doesn't put stock in. Monday, the governors also signed a congressional letter asking lawmakers to review the government agency.

"Storage capacity is just one such means by which the Corps can respond. The other means are to increase releases as information about increased snow pack accumulates," Daugaard said.

And demands like this from people on a united front may finally be the catalyst to slow the chance for future destruction.

Not everyone is on board with the changes though. Montana's governor is upset with requests from the plains states to lower reservoir levels permanently, saying it could actually lead to a drought there.

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