Sen. Rounds meets with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss flooding

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North Sioux City, S.D. (KELO) – Flooding has been a major issue in many parts of KELOLAND this year — with the rain starting in March and taking very few breaks.

Flooding along the Missouri River Basin was the focus Wednesday of a meeting between Senator Mike Rounds the Army Corps of Engineers.

It was a full room Wednesday as Senator Mike Rounds held a hearing of the Senate subcommittee he chairs.

Rounds and members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discussed flooding in the Missouri River and how the Corps plans to improve the management of the river.

“Come in and ask the questions about their management plan, whether it’s working, what changes need to be made, what occurred this year in regard to very high water levels of the middle part of the Missouri River Basin, whether or not there were other tools they should have had available to them or the tools they do have were actually working,” Senator Mike Rounds said.

The Corps says they have a three phase recovery plan. The first phase includes the initial response which would improve the system to be ready for the next flood season

“Our second phase is our permanent repair of the system that existed before flooding,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General Peter Helmlinger said. “Our phase three, is our long term plan and really the most important, it’s not simply to rebuild what was there before the flood, which would have the same risk of flooding in the future but to improve the system, to improve the conveyance of the river so we can handle these increasing rainfalls.”

“As the general said they have a three phase plan going on right now, they’re going to work it through, they will come back to us and advise us what their needs are,” Rounds said.

A discussion that can help potentially reduce flooding in the future.

“I think this was a very successful hearing, I think accomplished the intent of congress and the energy and public works subcommittee to look into what’s necessary to improve the capacity of the Missouri River, not just to recover from the current flooding but to improve the system to reduce flood risk in the future,” Helmlinger said.

Helmlinger says the river does not have the carrying capacity it did when the dam system was first put into place. Some of the reasons why is because of more sediment and different weather patterns.

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