It has been almost seven months since the end of the Great Flood of 2011. In the intervening months, it has become clear that the Army Corps must change how it manages the Missouri River. Missouri Valley residents cannot go back to “business as usual” along the Mighty Mo. To do so invites disaster. But what must change?
Lower valley farmers, represented by the Farm Bureau Federation, the Corn Grower’s Association, and the Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association want the rapid reconstruction of old, misaligned levees, as well as the flood-prone navigation channel. Those two antiquated hydraulic systems worsened flooding last year and will contribute to flooding in the years ahead. But the members of those three organizations want to be able to raise corn and soybeans (which are now fetching record prices) on every conceivable acre in the lower valley, so they are aggressively promoting a policy that substantially increases the probability of another major flood. Unfortunately, the farm lobby is gambling with the safety of the lower valley in order to maximize farm income. Continue Reading »