The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is asking the public to keep an eye on the 2021 run-off season in the Missouri River Basin and the potential for flooding.
Although significant strides have been made in repairing more than 350 miles of levees across the Lower Missouri River basin that were damaged following the historic floods of 2019, the Corps said a heightened level of flood risk remains for the communities and landowners behind the damaged levee systems as repair efforts are ongoing. The risk is higher than it was prior to the flood event because the levees are comprise of a series of components that all function together to create a complete levee system, and until all of the components — such as seepage berms and relief walls — are repaired, the system, does not fully provide the same level of flood risk reduction as it did in its pre-flood condition.
“A lot of work has been done by the levee sponsors, other stakeholders, and USACE team to repair the levee systems that were decimated by the 2019 flooding. However, there is still a significant amount of work to be done. The levees in their current conditions do not offer the same level of risk reduction as they did prior to the 2019 floods,” warned Matt Krajewski, director of emergency operations, USACE-Omaha. “There is still work to be done up and down the system to restore the levees to their full protection level. I urge everyone to remain vigilant this upcoming flood season.”
To date, USACE has awarded nearly $500 million in levee repair construction contracts and more than $375 million of the work has been accomplished to include 15 projects that have been substantially completed, 12 current active construction projects — including all the levees on the left bank of the Missouri River within Omaha District’s area of responsibility — and five projects that are still working through the design process. While it is anticipated that all levee systems will be at full height by March 1, repairs on various other components of the levee systems will continue throughout much of the 2021 construction season. Until these repairs can be completed the USACE, levee sponsor and local communities need to remain vigilant.
The Omaha District remains focused on ensuring the safety of citizens and remain positioned to provide flood fight assistance to state, local and tribal government agencies, as appropriate. We will also continue working with our other federal partners to communicate the conditions on the river systems as we look towards the 2021 run-off season. When severe weather and/or heavy precipitation is forecasted, the public is encouraged to keep in contact with their local emergency managers for the latest conditions in their area.