Four Missouri members of congress are sponsoring a bill demanding the Corps of Engineers not let a flood like this year’s flood happen again. But they might be hurting an industry that past Missouri members of congress have fought to protect. .
Missouri members Graves, Cleaver, Hartzler, and Luetkemeyer join eight other Missouri River basin members of congress supporting a bill ordering the Corps of Engineers to increase the upstream reservoir space for spring runoff. Graves says the corps needs to prepare for the next worse-case scenario.
The chief of the corps water management division in the Omaha district, Jody Farhat, says the demand could cause the corps to drop water levels at all six upstream reservoirs by 12 feet, producing less hydropower, limited water supply and water quality, less recreation opportunities less service for navigation during dry times, and less service for fisheries.
Less service for navigation during periods of drought is bad news to the barge industry. Missouri’s congressional delegation has been fighting for decades to get more water in the downstream Missouri to maintain a navigation season for the barge industry.
But, as Farhat says, another catastrophic flood would be avoided. And flood control exceeds all of the other seven authorized purposes for corps management of the river.