We must work together
We attended a stakeholder meeting on Oct. 2 in Missouri Valley, Iowa that was well attended with overflow capacity.
This was, in part, a campaign swing by Congressman Steve King of Iowa. He met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and State Representative Jon Jacobsen, of Iowa. He attempted to get answers from the Corps being represented by the water division chief, John Remus, and Col. John Hudson.
I was humbled when a spokesperson from Pacifc Junction, Iowa, came to the mic to speak. She shared with us what that town endured when the March storm hit. No matter how bad it is with your flooding situation there is always another area that is so much worse off.
Two people defended the Corps saying that they are just doing their job. Actually, they are not doing their job to help lessen the flooding when they are holding back water releases in the winter months. They are allowing the system to get behind. The water needs to keep moving in the winter months at bank full to evacuate the waters above the reservoirs, to accommodate the rains and snow melt coming in the spring.
One man spoke and said that the river was so low last winter, with sandbars showing, that he thought he could walk across the river. We have observed the same.
Remus said they are planning to release 45,000 cubic feet per second from Gavins Point Dam this winter. He talked about the difficulty of ice and keeping some type of tunnel for the water to move through. He also said that their plan is to continue releasing 80,000 cfs from Gavins into November.
Remus stated that if we want to see changes, we need to get the Congress to make changes to their Master Manual. The last time they made changes to the manual it took Congress 15 years to get that accomplished.
Iowa constituents have a little more support from their congressional leaders compared to Nebraska So much of that has to do with Iowa’s activists.
We need a unified group to work toward the same goal with the ability to contact and communicate with our congressional leaders.
Col. John Hudson told the stakeholders that they are working on a three-step plan. Phase 1 is to close off the breached levee system, Phase 2 is restoring levee system and Phase 3 is a three- to five-year study that would need 700 million dollars in funding.
The truth is that we don’t have three to five year to spare. Most of those who reside along the river will lose their farmland and will not be able to withstand the devastation. Getting flooded three times in one year gives the farmer no chance to catch his breath and leaves little collateral to cover our taxes and mortgage payments. Guess you could refer to this as a land grab!
All this flooding has caused problems between landowners. We are going to continue to flood due to the way the Corps is managing the river. Why not take the energy and money that went into cleaning out a ditch and placing a culvert to contacting our members of Congress and asking them to be our voice. As long as the river is out of its banks we will continue to have high ground water levels.
Without the farmer these little towns will go down the tubes too. We need to join forces instead of working against one another. If you are not a letter-writer then attend the town hall meetings and voice your concerns. We can all do our part to work toward a united goal.