Missouri Basin levees in presidentially-declared disaster areas will receive significantly more funding for repairs under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act signed Friday by President Obama. Of the $8.6 billion provision for nationwide disaster relief, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will receive approximately $1.7 billion.
“We expect a majority of qualified repairs to levees and our operating projects will be funded,” said Brig. Gen. John R. McMahon, Northwestern Division Commander. “This supplemental appropriation allows us to move from repairs to a 25-year level of flood risk reduction to making full repairs that offer greater risk reduction.”
Corps officials said that the $1.7 billion slated for nationwide levee repairs includes $802 million for the Mississippi River and tributaries, $388 million for flood control and coastal emergencies, and $534 million for operations and maintenance activities, including dredging and repairs of damages to Corps projects.
While damage assessment of levees and operating projects is still underway, current estimates to make all qualified repairs in the Missouri River basin is expected to top $530 million. More than $120 million has already been received by the Corps for repairs in the Missouri River Basin.
“Though we can’t complete all the necessary repairs before the next runoff season,” said McMahon, “we will work as hard as we can to ensure those projects with the highest life and safety priorities are ready and in place with the remainder completed as soon as possible.”
Communities, businesses and individuals vulnerable to flooding will still need to be prepared for flood-fighting, he said.
Eligible levee repairs pertain to those deemed economically justifiable, with $15,000 or more in damages sustained in the recent flood event, and are active in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers PL 84-99 Rehabilitation and Inspection Program at the time of the flood event.
Dredging Today Staff, December 28, 2011; Image: usace