SIDNEY – Fremont County officials updated US Sen. Chuck Grassley on flood control issues along the Missouri River and the need for federal transportation aid.
Federal Judge Nancy Firestone ruled in March that river management policies to aid
endangered species led to flood damages along the Missouri River, estimated to exceed $300 million in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.
The ruling excluded the year 2011, when bluff-to-bluff flooding occurred after a levy breach near Hamburg.
Farmer Leo Ettleman said the judge’s thinking was that it would have flooded no matter what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ management plan had been.
Ettleman: “In watching that part of the trial, had the 2011 been managed by the 1979 manual versus the 2004, the high releases wouldn’t have been as high for as long. Those are what caused the damage, the breaches. The actual big damage was because of those extremely high releases.”
Patrick Sheldon of the levy district also asked the senator to see if the federal government can ease its restrictions for the emergency preparedness plan. He said the plan is so complicated the levy districts have to hire engineers, which break budgets.
Fremont County Commissioner Randy Hickey told the senator that rural areas need federal assistance for road and bridge improvements.