Generations have studied how to tame the Missouri River in Mid-Missouri. The solution to mitigating its flooding has been elusive.
Since the 1930s, the Corps of Engineers has been among those looking for a fix.
In the 1990s, the Corps had plans to construct a levee on the northern bank of the Missouri River's lower basin at mile marker 142, just north of Jefferson City. But the plans were revised multiple times until the Corps eventually diverted funding away from the project, according to a 1994 report from the U.S. Department of Interior.
Part of what sank those efforts was a lack of local consensus on the project and what effect it would have had on local creeks.
With this latest effort to find a solution to the river's flooding, lessons must be learned from those past failures and local voices must be involved as much as possible.
In the words of DNR Director Dru Buntin, all stakeholders involved in finding a solution -- the Corps, the state and landowners -- must set aside any lingering frustrations with previous proposals and focus on what they want to see from the latest study of the river.
And it looks as if those stakeholders are taking the right steps.
The Corps and DNR began partnering on a three-year flood risk mitigation feasibility study in November 2022. The study is looking at how to reduce or prevent flooding at three points along the Missouri River, including Jefferson City.
And the Corps and state are making efforts to bring landowners in early for suggestions and feedback. They held a public meeting Monday to gather input, feedback and concerns about the study and offered two examples of ways levees could help mitigate flooding in the area.
Ginger Niemann-Harper, project planner for the Corps, noted the two proposals are only jumping off points. The goal of Monday's meeting was to gain public feedback on what considerations the agencies should be studying moving forward.
At this point, officials are gathering and analyzing information. A draft report with recommendations is expected by the summer of 2024.
A second public feedback session is planned before a plan is selected.
The Corps and DNR are accepting online public comments through their websites and via email at [email protected]
Now is the time for the Capital City to step up and add its voice and perspective as we try to find a solution to the Missouri River's flooding.
-- News Tribune