HAMBURG – Pat Sheldon of the Benton Washington Levee District told Sen. Chuck Grassley at a meeting in Hamburg this month that federal management of the Missouri River corridor could work better than it is.
He said the levee district received “zero” warning prior to this spring’s disastrous flooding, but the federal government has placed evacuations and emergency preparedness on the shoulders of the local districts.
Sheldon: “If we don’t get the information to communicate with our constituents, we can’t keep them safe.”
Sheldon also questioned the practice of placing notches on wing dikes located on government land. He said the idea is to create sandbars that are favorable for wildlife, but may be slowing the water down.
Sheldon said high water is going through the Levee 575 area up to 60 percent slower than it has in the past.
Sheldon: “That’s a real issue for getting flood water through here. We can take some high water over our levees, but when they slow it down and you can’t get it through, we have a major problem.”
Sheldon said the US Army Corps of Engineers’ master manual changed in 2004 and it was fully implemented in 2007.
Sheldon: “Three of the top five crests have happened in the last five years. Seven of the top 15 have occurred in the last 15 years, exactly after the changing of the master plan.”
Prior to the 2004 master plan, he said, flood control was the top priority for upstream reservoirs, followed by hydroelectric power and navigation. He said those priorities have been taken over by other special interest groups.