JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (KMIZ)
Tonight the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting to discuss a recent flood-resilience study of the Missouri River levees near Jefferson City.
This comes after the Missouri River flooded back in 1993, 2011 and 2019 resulting in billions of dollars of damage to nearby buildings and agriculture,
While the 2019 flood changed the community the Department of Natural Resources and Army Corps say this is an opportunity for a fresh start. Congress gave the U.S Army Corps a historic amount of money to address infrastructure part of that is being used for this Missouri River Study.
They are trying to develop a plan that considers everything such as nearby farmers, local businesses and nearby residents. The Missouri River flooded back in 1993, 2011 and 2019 resulting in billions of dollars of damage to nearby buildings and agriculture, according to the release.
The 2019 flood affected nearly 14 million people in the Midwest. Since then the DNR and Army Corps have done site visits, levee surveys and structure surveys across the Missouri River to look at causes, impacts and potential solutions to these recurring floods.
The goal of the study is to collect data to help with levees across the Missouri River moving forward. The public meetings are a way for the DNR to find a locally preferred plan that will still reduce the risk of flood damage.
“I think the most important thing we get is a diversity of opinions and I think you definitely saw that in the discussion tonight,” Ginger Niemann-Harper, a Community Planner with the US Army Corps of Engineers, told ABC 17 News. “You have different groups from businesses to Ag producers to residents to city officials so that’s what’s really important.”
The focus of the presentation surrounded the Capital View Levee and Missouri River Levee System L-142 in Callaway County near Jefferson City, which was authorized by the state but has yet to be built. Multiple Callaway County Representatives were in attendance as well as Jefferson City Mayor Ron Fitzwater.
All options are still on the table including doing nothing, which one concerned farmer who attended the meeting was in favor of.
“It’s not my fault the airport is built down there. So if that levee would break, your proposed levee in the blue and yellow line, if that would break you’d lose your airport and to me I’d much rather keep everything the same,” the concerned resident farmer said.
Tonight is just another step in a three-year plan with the goal to have a final report sent to the chief of engineers by May 2026.
“I think this is just a historic look and if you have an opinion on the Missouri River we encourage you to share it now because we are looking at everything from flood risk to navigation to the way that species are on the river so please make your voices heard,” Niemann-Harper said.
A DNR spokesperson said during the presentation that there is a “desire to get it right” since there are so many stakeholders involved. The Jefferson City study is part of a much larger project that includes other states such as Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. As he put it during the meeting “we may not get an opportunity like this again, at least during the duration of our career.”
The next steps of the project will include finalizing and modeling a list of alternatives, finding economic benefits, developing a cost estimate, and then doing a third public outreach.
Check back for updates.