Both of Missouri’s senators and all twelve of their colleagues from Missouri River states meet this afternoon in Washington hoping to agree on ways to reduce future flooding. Missouri’s senior senator, Claire McCaskill, says the group has a lot of questions.
For years the upstream states and the downstream states have been at odds about the purpose of the six upstream storage reservoirs and how they should be used. Although the reservoirs were built for flood control and navigation, upstream states have protected the recreation industry that has developed around them. Environmental interests have gotten regulated water flows to protect endangered species. Downstream states don’t want anything to limit navigation.
This year’s top-to-bottom flooding of the Missouri River basin has made all seven states victims. Senator McCaskill says everybody has questions. She thinks there has been an “uptick” in the amount of water going into the reservoirs. She wants to know if the model used to plan storage and releases is still adequate.
McCaskill wants to know if all the water in Montana could have been managed better. She doesn’t think any major changes will be agreed on in the meeting. But she hopes the group can get information from the Corps that can let all of the states work together emphasizing the original purposes of the system and limiting another flood season like this one.