February 6, 2016

Corps ready to fix levees but levees not ready to be fixed (AUDIO)

The Corps of Engineers says it’s ready to roll on repairing levees damaged by the 2011 flood.  But some things must happen before work can begin on almost all of the damaged levees in the Kansas City district.

The Corps has the money to make repairs but district commander, Col. Tony Hoffman, says most of the levees in the district are non-federal., a situation that provides more challenges with cost-share agreements with sponsors and real estate issues.  He says the Corps had worked through the holiday break on those issues.

Emergency Management Director Jud Kneuven in the Kansas City office says levee sponsors are responsible for the “borrow,” the materials used to fix the levees, and also are responsible for any easements needed to reconstruct and, if needed, realign the levees.

The Corps says it has prepared a management plan with more flexibility in it to handle this year’s runoffs.   But Water management specialist Jody Farhat says the snow runoff last spring was so extraordinary that Missourians would not have seen major changes in the water in the Missouri River if the Corps had that same flexibility in its plan in 2011. 

The Corps has issued its first contract for repairs.  There are more than 50 repairs that have to be made.  The Corps says it won’t have all repairs made before the Spring flood season begins on March 1.  But the snow buildup in the Dakotas and Montana is light this year, leaving the Corps hopeful it won’t see a repeat of the massive runoff in 2011.  

Interview with Jody Farhat, Col. Tony Hoffman, Jud Kneuven mp3