August 17, 2011
Governor will attend meeting Friday with upstream states to questions Corps leaders, emphasize importance of flood control
After historic summer floods, Gov. Nixon commits to rebuilding Missouri River levees
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - During a visit to St. Joseph this afternoon, Gov. Jay Nixon said his administration is committed to helping rebuild levees along the Missouri River that have been damaged by record flooding this year. The Governor also announced that he will attend a meeting with upstream governors on flood-control issues scheduled to take place this Friday in Omaha.
"Over the past several months, historic releases of water from upstream reservoirs have placed unprecedented pressure and stress on levees across Missouri," Gov. Nixon said. "These levees protect communities, vital infrastructure and some of the most productive farmland in the world. As the water falls over the coming weeks and months, we must complete an accurate assessment of the damage and move quickly to repair, rebuild and strengthen our levees."
Gov. Nixon has announced his intention to call a special session of the Missouri General Assembly in September to take up a number of vital measures to create jobs, grow the economy and move Missouri forward. One of the session's key priorities will be to develop a plan to pay for necessary repairs and rebuilding along hundreds of miles of damaged levees across Missouri and to support disaster recovery in other parts of the state.
Also today, Gov. Nixon announced that on Friday, he will join the governors of upstream Missouri River states for the meeting on flood control.
"The state of Missouri's position on river management is clear: Flood control must be the top priority," Gov. Nixon said. "I'm looking forward to this opportunity to emphasize that priority with my fellow governors from the upstream states."
Gov. Nixon and the other governors also will have the opportunity to question Brigadier Gen. John R. McMahon, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers northwest district, about the decisions and factors that led to this historic flood.
Gov. Nixon made his announcement today at the Remington Nature Center in St. Joseph, where on June 2, he advised Missourians to prepare for imminent flooding. At that time, the Governor reported that all six major reservoirs along the upper Missouri River were at capacity, and that additional rainfall and snowmelt within the watershed would worsen the situation.
On June 8, Gov. Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard to serve as the state's lead agency on flood preparedness and fighting. In response to this order, the Guard deployed hundreds of Citizen-Soldiers to fill and place sandbags, inspect levees and support local efforts. Citizen-Soldiers continue to perform security and traffic patrols in northwest Missouri.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now releasing 150,000 cubic feet per second from the Gavins Point Dam, and will continue to release this rate through Aug. 18. Beginning Aug. 18, flows will decrease by 5,000 cubic feet per second per day until they reach the rate of 90,000 cubic feet per second. Today's release rate is still more than twice the previous record.