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Lawmakers Address Corps About Flood

October 18, 2011, 5:54 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Lawmakers Address Corps About Flood
It's a story we've heard before and they're sticking to it. Just a day after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the flood is finally over, the government agency took questions about Missouri River management.

"We were taking prudent actions on the information we had at the time," Brig. Gen John McMahon with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. 

From May to September, residents along the Missouri River watched the water swallow their homes. Cities scrambled and everyone wondered why more wasn't done. South Dakota's Senators asked those questions again Tuesday morning.

"The Corps completely failed when it came to understanding the amount of rain the snow pack contained, which led to a series of events much more serious than would have otherwise occurred," South Dakota Senator John Thune said. 

"Management of this system has always created tension in the basin, but in light of this year's flooding, concern over river management is higher than ever," South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson said. 

The outrage over how the flood was handled is just as high. Corps of Engineers representatives said Tuesday that the reservoir system worked as it was intended to.

"The three consecutive months of rain was the wild card and no one could have anticipated. That's what caused us to increase releases," McMahon said. 

"We need to understand what human error and existing management practices on the Missouri River occurred so we can learn from our mistakes and make adjustments to learn so these disasters do not occur in the future," Thune said.

The Army Corps of Engineers is currently doing its own review of the flood, which it says will address many of the unanswered questions. That won't be wrapped up until December.

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