Iowa farmer not happy with Corps 2012 Missouri River plan

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October 27th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The U-S Army Corps of Engineers has been holding meetings up and down the Missouri River to discuss 2011 flooding problems and its plans for 2012. Percival, Iowa farmer Leo Ettleman, is also a spokesman for a coalition called “Responsible River Management.” Ettleman describes the meetings as “frustrating,” and says while the Corps is listening, they aren’t planning any changes.  He says the Corps looks at 2008 at a “500-year event” and they have no reason to change their management plans over one such event, so he says they will manage the river in 2012 like they have in the past. Ettleman says any changes to the Corps’ Missouri River operating plan will have to come from Congress.

Ettleman says that means there is no funding in the plan for flood recovery to build the levees back to the 100-year protection that they were. Ettleman lost two-thirds of his 23-hundred row crop acres to the flooding in 2011. He says it has left a tremendous amount of debris and sand deposits on his land. “We have sand deposits probably, anywhere from two foot to four foot deep, just waves of sand.. scour holes, we have scour holes anywhere from two foot to five foot deep, it’s tremendous,” Ettleman says. Ettleman is concerned about a repeat of the flooding problems in 2012.

He says they are going into spring with a 25-year protection levee, if it gets finished,by spring, and “we’re going to be extremely vulnerable in 2012 and perhaps even beyond, it depends on when the funding comes in.” Ettleman says because the number of people directly affected by the flooding is relatively small, it has been a challenge to make their voices heard.

(Dar Danielson/Radio Iowa)