An Army Corps of Engineers review of the 1944 Flood Control Act poses more of a threat to navigation on the Missouri River than previous studies by the Corps.

This $25 million study by the Army Corps of Engineers might seem similar to a 15-year, $35 million study completed in 2004. But that study concerned how the Corps manages the Missouri in accordance with the Flood Control Act approved by Congress 66 years ago. This study, called the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study, looks at the Act itself.

“This is a look at the purposes that were defined in the ’44 Flood Control Act and if any changes might be warranted due to contemporary needs and current interests of the public,” according to US Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Mark Harberg.

It’s that explanation offered by Harberg, who works in the Corps’ Omaha office, which worries Missouri officials who see this study as an effort by upstream states to flip the purpose of the Act to favor recreation over navigation.

Harberg sidesteps a question about the value of the study.

“We do what Congress directed us,” Harberg tells reports. “Congress directed us to undertake this study and we really don’t have a choice.”

Corps officials will hold more than 30 public meetings, receiving input on to draft their report. They have held meetings in Jefferson City and Kansas City. Tonight, the Corps holds a meeting at the Ramada Inn in St. Joseph, beginning at 5pm.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:30 MP3]