The work continues by the governors of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas to ensure that the Missouri River is on track for the future. They met Thursday and have been meeting occasionally since 2019, when Missouri River flooding ravaged some of their communities.

Gov. Mike Parson said progress has been made along the river. After Thursday’s meeting in Omaha, the governor said they cannot let up on flood control efforts, even though the region is dealing with drought.

“I don’t want to go back to the old days just because we haven’t had a flood,” said Parson. “And we’re in a drought stage for most of us in this region. So now it’s kind of out of sight out of mind. But I’m telling you, we are headed in the right direction. We just need to make sure we continue the partnerships. Because what happens in every one of our states affect every one of us, whether you’re in Nebraska, whether you’re in Iowa, Kansas.”

Parson said the river is not just a “one-disaster item.”

“We have a tendency to think of the river when we talked about it on floods. But the drought is just as important,” says Parson. “And if you look at every one of our states, on the on the rivers, what they do for each of us, you know the economy number one, we haven’t even talked about what we do. That’s why these meetings to me are so important, too, because we’ve got to keep the navigations of the river open. When that river level goes down and all of a sudden you’ve got to start worrying about freeze or you’ve got to start worrying about power plants.”

The governors have been working alongside the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce some of the government bureaucracy and speed up the process of rebuilding levees.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said the conversation at their Thursday meeting was much different than their first one in 2019, when they expressed a lot of frustration to the Army Corps of Engineers.

“I think that was one of the things we talked about over and over that we need to be able to address the issue and then figure out a way to get it done quicker than what we’ve been what we’ve experienced in the past. We tend to study things to death instead of moving forward and getting things done. And we’ve seen a lot of progress since 2019 in that first meeting and the way that we’re doing things,” said Reynolds.

At least 1.2 million acres of Missouri farmland fell victim to flooding in 2019, sparking Parson to convene a statewide flood advisory working group.

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