Monday, July 26, 2010

Iowa's governor asks feds for flood management reviews

Jason Pulliam in the Chicago Tribune via the Des Moines Register: Gov. Chet Culver has asked federal leaders to examine changes to flood management plans at Iowa's four reservoirs, reviews that could cost $8 million. Some of the operating plans for the reservoirs -- Saylorville, Coralville, Red Rock and Rathbun lakes -- have not seen major changes for decades.

…The reviews will include hydraulic, land-use, environmental and various other reviews to determine the impacts of possible changes. "You have to look at every single impact of what changes would cause -- socially, environmentally and economically," Fournier said.

"If the decision is made to either hold back or let out more water in a particular reservoir and flood more people, the government has to come up with the funding to be able to purchase those lands or those easements before you can actually implement those changes. That could be another long, drawn-out process. It all depends on how full-blown it goes."

Earlier this month, Corps officials said they wanted to examine Saylorville Lake's decades-old floodwater management plan. Des Moines officials said a review should include considering whether the reservoir should be enlarged.

The last major updates in the 33-year-old Saylorville reservoir's management plan came in the 1980s. The Corps' Rock Island district manages Saylorville, Coralville and Red Rock. Rathbun is managed by the Corps' Kansas City district. The Corps frequently faces public criticism for not releasing more water sooner from Saylorville….

Red Rock Dam and Lake, also known as Red Rock Reservoir, on the Des Moines River in Marion County, Iowa. Photo by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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