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Flood recovery efforts outpacing past years, Parson says

Missouri is recovering from 2019’s catastrophic flooding quicker than it had after other floods thanks to the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the legislature, Gov. Mike Parson said. 

Parson met with Brigadier General Pete Helmlinger of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division to discuss the state’s recovery efforts this week. Missouri faced severe flooding in 2019, devastating multiple areas of the state and reaching historic levels in some regions. Parson said communities were recovering faster than they had from flooding in 1993 and 2011, with 70 percent of damaged levees reconstructed so far. 

“I’d like to thank Brigadier General Pete Helmlinger and the Army Corps of Engineers for their teamwork in this effort,” Parson said. “Levees damaged in the 2019 flood are 70 percent reconstructed, and our communities are well on their way to recovery. Additionally, the legislature’s funding support has allowed us to provide assistance to local levee districts and help communities get back to business as usual more quickly.”

The state provided 75 percent of the cost share to rebuild levees affected by the floods. The action was recommended by the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group established by Parson after the disasters occurred. The group submitted its final report and recommendations last year. 

Another recommendation was for the state to support the Atchison County Levee Setback, one of the largest recent setback projects on the lower Missouri River. The project, which is nearing its completion, is meant to reduce the damage imposed by future flooding. 

“From the beginning, I’ve said we must look at doing things differently than we have in past floods if we expect better protection and mitigation of impacts in the future,” Parson said. “The success of the Atchison County project is a great example of what we can accomplish by working together, and we commend the levee district and all partners involved for their innovative thinking and teamwork to provide a solution that enhances protection.”

The project received support from the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Conservation, and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), among others. 

Parson and Helmlinger also discussed progress on other reservoir projects, funding priorities, and damage to navigation infrastructure.