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Congressman Graves pushes for Army Corps of Engingeers funding change in wake of catastrophic flooding


As rampant and historic flooding in Missouri continues, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves successfully attached an amendment to a federal appropriations bill this week adding millions of dollars to the Army Corps of Engineers’ investigations budget in an effort to combat the severity in the future.

Graves, a Republican who represents Missouri’s 6th congressional district, pushed a provision transferring $4 million from the Army Corps of Engineers’ general expenses account to one dedicated to investigations. That fund can be used to conduct studies regarding the severe flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers — potentially reducing cataclysmic damage in the future.

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves

“The devastation to homes, businesses, schools, and farmland from these floods is heartbreaking. For some, the recovery process is just starting to begin — others are still waiting for the floodwaters to recede,” Graves said in a statement to The Missouri Times. “The persistent flooding we have seen for the last several years cannot continue. We must take the steps necessary to put an end to these deadly and destructive behaviors.”

Graves said the amendment, attached to the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, will fund studies “to help us better understand and evaluate the causes of these floods” as well as “identify projects that mitigate their severity and frequent occurrences in the future.”

“In doing so, it will help save the people and properties living along these flood-prone rivers,” Graves said.

State Rep. Louis Riggs, whose district has been heavily impacted by the flooding, praised the amendment put forth by Graves as well as the Corps.

Riggs, of HD 5, stressed taking a look at the systemic problems that occurred after the historic 1993 floods and what has or hasn’t changed since then. Specifically, Riggs pointed to a need for funding for modernization of the locks and dams on the rivers, fixing existing levees, and dredging of waterways. 

This year, two locations along the Missouri River reached historic crest levels, according to data the National Weather Service provided to The Missouri Times. Those locations are St. Joseph, which crested at 32.12, and Waverly, which crested at 31.66.

During the past legislative session, Republican state Sen. Dan Hegeman put forth a resolution calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to make flood control along the Missouri River, specifically, a “priority.”

It called for the Corps to “focus on [its] mandated responsibility to protect public health and safety through flood control” and to “place the utmost priority on flood control in any future modifications to the Missouri River Master Manual and in its annual planning.”

“You would hope [the Army Corps] would manage flood control, but they need some guidance on that,” Hegeman told The Missouri Times in April.

President Donald Trump signed a federal disaster aid package earlier this month, bringing relief to Missouri. And Gov. Mike Parson previously declared a state of emergency and deployed the Missouri National Guard to aid with flood prevention efforts across the state.