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County officials say landowners are responsible for keeping a creek free of debris

County officials say there are exceptions at levee districts and city, state or county owned bridges, which would fall squarely on government officials to take care of.

Posted: Jul 24, 2020 9:24 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 10:10 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Fingers are pointing in every direction after flooding caused damage to homes near Contrary Creek in St. Joseph Monday.

Residents are asking, is it Buchanan County’s, the city's, or Missouri's fault for all the extensive flood damage?

The answer is not one the people who live there are going to like.

The individual landowners living along the creek are responsible for cleaning it up and keeping it clean in between major storms.

County officials say there are exceptions at levee districts and city, state or county owned bridges, which would fall squarely on government officials to take care of.

In Missouri, landowners whose property backs up to streams like Contrary Creek, usually own that property all the way up to the centerline of the channel. Therefore, if there are any problems or issues, they can take care of it themselves.

“Not the county, not the city nor the state has access to the banks of the river. The owners of the property are the people that are responsible for the trees and brush that fall into it,” Buchanan County Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Brinton said.

Contrary Creek runs from Rushville up to south St. Joseph and then to the Missouri River.

County officials say that means hundreds of landowners as well as cities, counties, the state and the Army Corp of Engineers have a hand in the stream management.

County officials also say it was just an unfortunate mixture of events that led to the flooding in the area including heavy rain, and debris jammed in the creek.

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Temperatures today were slightly above average with highs in the upper 80s. Similar conditions are in store for Sunday as well as stronger winds with gusts up to 20mph. Tonight will be calm with lows in the upper 60s with very light wind. Temperatures will start off above average on Monday before a cold front moves through. That front will give us additional rain chances Monday night and some much more fall like temperatures through the rest of the week.
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