Farmers save SW Iowa levee after Corps of Engineers bails out

News

June 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

After the feds fled the flood, farmers from southwest Iowa are fighting the high water on their own. Hamburg Fire Chief Dan Sturm says the main levee along the Missouri River just south of town was seen to be weakening on Sunday and the levee sprung a small leak that shot out water like a geyser.  “It also had an additional collapse the following day just south of it about 100 feet,” Chief Sturm says. “At that time, the Corps of Engineers found it too unstable to be working on so they pulled out.” He says several of the locals formed a team to save the levee — and hopefully — save the town.

“A couple of farmers took it upon themselves to pull in some more heavy equipment,” Sturm says. “They brought in more dirt and heavy rock and they have really strengthened up that section of levee and it is really looking a lot better. We have have bought quite a bit more time with that and they actually may hold that section.” He says Hamburg could face a flood threat from the opposite direction, too, from the Nishabotna River, so that floodwall is being shored up, as well.

“Placing sandbags on the Nishna levee that runs on the east side of town,” he says. “That’s just a precautionary measure.” Sturm says, for now, the Missouri River is fine but the Corps is expected to drastically increase flows from the Gavins Point Dam, near Yankton, South Dakota, next week.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)