COUNCIL BLUFFS- Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri governors met earlier this week in Council Bluffs, Iowa to discuss levee’s and recent flooding across the three state area.
According to Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, the trio of governors will be working alongside the US Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that future floods will not be as catastrophic as the floods of 2011 and 2019.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said that Hamburg, Iowa will see an increase in levee height thanks to a statue from 2016.
“It is the first time in history that we have been able to take advantage of the 2016 (section 1176) that allowed us through one of the statutes (section 1176) to use non-federal funding to increase the height of the levee,” Gov. Reynolds said. “That is significant to Hamburg that has been impacted over the past three floods that has devastated the area.”
After the 2011 floods, Hamburg returned to pre-flood levels. However, it was unable to raise the $6 million it needed to buy dirt to raise the levee. In 2019, another flood submerged half the city. Now, the levee will receive an eight feet raise that will significantly increase the flood management.
Ricketts adds that the biggest difference from a decade ago in 2011 is the comradery between governors.
“The governors got engaged and stayed engaged,” Gov. Ricketts said. “We had a lot of great help from local folks to be able to be a part of this as well. So, I think it’s really that partnership where everybody has that sense of urgency to continue working on this together. I think that’s why we are seeing changes.”
The partnership between governor, citizen, and US Army Corps of Engineer extends beyond just these three states, though.
“We’ve all also reached out to those states north as well to talk to them about some of those issues,” Gov. Ricketts said. “But, we are engaging some of those states as well to be a part of the conversation.
Regardless of northern state contribution, Gov. Ricketts guaranteed that the US Army Corps of Engineers is doing things differently and making it faster to address the Missouri River and other flood hotspots.