Round table searches for solutions to Missouri River management

Tuesday morning, U.S. Representative Sam Graves and city, county, and state officials met in St. Joseph to discuss the management of the Missouri River.

Posted: Apr 23, 2019 6:40 PM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 9:07 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Tuesday morning, U.S. Representative Sam Graves and city, county, and state officials met in St. Joseph to discuss the management of the Missouri River.

A large portion of the discussion was about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the priorities of the agency to protect the river.

In attendance were many farm experts, county commissioners and other politicians.

A Holt County commissioner, Carla Markt, was in attendance of the Tuesday's discussion. She, among others, believe the Corps' primary responsibility should be managing flooding.

Many believe that last month's historic flooding in northwest Missouri was caused by mismanagement of the river.

"Right now, we can't expect the best because we know we can't have it," Markt said.

This frustration coming weeks after the crest of the river that left many parts of the area underwater.

"Roads are devastated, bridges are devastated, and have to be rebuilt. And we have a large amount of levees that have to be rebuilt also," she said.

As damage remains in the area, people still question how did the flooding get so bad. Many shifting blame to the Corps, citing concerns that the agency protects wildlife more than people. Rep. Sam Graves agrees.

"Here you have a situation where we have folks that are more concerned about two birds and a fish than the people out there who are making their livelihoods," Graves said.

Graves is leading the fight to fix the concerns.

"Something I am working is trying to change the priorities that the Corps has in terms of removing fish and wildlife as a priority overall," Graves said. "You know restoring flood control as the number one priority."

Graves said the Army Corps operates differently on the other side of the state with the Mississippi River.

"The Mississippi side is much more responsive to flood control and navigation," Graves said. "Much more responsive and that's what they really pay attention to. The Missouri side is obviously much more different."

Now finding the balance between protecting wildlife and protecting people's land is in the hands of Congress.

"It is Congress evidently they're the only ones who can change this," Markt said.

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