The Corps of Engineers says Missouri river levees still holed by this year’s floods will not be fixed before the spring flood season. The Corps has told a congressional subcommittee there’s more to the project than rebuilding levees.
The Corps has extended its increase flow schedule by a few days to drain more waster out of upstream reservoirs, creating more space to store spring runoff. But it cannot guarantee there won’t be flooding next spring.
Northwest Division Commander John McMahon says the Corps is studying how much more flood control should space be allocated based on this year’s record flood. Although some people don’t want to hear him say it, he says it will take time to evaluate a new policy. “I can tell you we’re not going to get nearly all of it done before the runoff season begins….the first of March,” he tells the committee.
The Corps is under pressure to make flood control a super-priority. But McMahon says Congress will need to authorize a revision of the master operations manual and to change the authorized purposes study which lists eight priorities.
But in the end, nothing can beat more money. “I’m not aware of any authoriteis that restrict or constrain what I need to do,” he says, “other than getting the appropriations in hand so we can move out.”
But Congress has yet to pass a budget that gives the Corps specific spending guidance. Government is operating under continuing resolutions that are based on last year’s spending priorities.