Jefferson City Today, Governor Mike Parson spoke to members of the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group as he convened the first meeting at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' headquarters.
Governor Parson signed Executive Order 19-14 on July 18 to establish the working group.
"We appreciate the time and commitment of the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group in joining us to reassure all Missourians affected by this flood that we are working not only to help them recover, but also to find ways to lessen the impacts of the next flood," Governor Parson said. “We asked the Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources to convene this group, and we know the members have able leadership in Director Chinn and Director Comer as they begin to chart their course.”
The purpose of the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group is to provide input on the state’s short-, medium-, and long-term flood recovery priorities and feedback on the state’s current levee system with suggested changes to benefit Missouri and its citizens. The group also will identify areas where attention is needed and provide input on priorities for allocation of state funding as Missouri recovers from this year’s flooding.
In addition to addressing short-term repairs to levees, the working group will also explore options to improve the conveyance of floodwater through the state's major rivers.
“We have been working with SEMA and the Department of Agriculture to determine the number of farm acres impacted by this year’s historic flooding events, estimating that Missouri had 1.2 million acres of flooded farmland,” Governor Parson said. “While roads are becoming more passable in certain regions, flood waters continue to recede slowly. We owe it to the many Missourians impacted by this year’s flooding to be thorough in our evaluation of recovery priorities and changes to be better prepared for future flooding.”
Missouri state agencies have been working together and communicating with federal agencies since March, when flooding impacts were becoming apparent.
“As we help shape the state’s strategy, we’re looking at an overall system of flood infrastructure and how we can reduce longer-term damage,” Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Dru Buntin said. “Members of the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group bring unique perspectives of their stakeholders to the conversation. We want to hear from Missouri citizens for input. It is important that we hear from everyone as we recover and for future efforts.”
Close to 100 people attended the first meeting of the working group, which was open to the public.
Members of the group include the Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Economic Development, Transportation, and the State Emergency Management Agency. Representatives from the Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Soybean Association, Coalition to Protect the Missouri River, and the Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition are members as well. Four additional members have been appointed – two representing agri-business and two representing local government interests. Governor Parson may appoint other members.
Governor Parson's Executive Order directs the working group to submit an initial report with findings and suggestions by December 31, 2019, and a final report by May 31, 2020.
More information about the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group is available at https://dnr.mo.gov/floodrecovery.