Hoeven: Corps Needs To Take Into Account Wet, Dry Cycles

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven said that the Missouri River Independent Expert Review Panel report released today affirms that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to change its operating procedures to recognize and accommodate wet and dry cycles – a change which Hoeven has been pressing for the Corps to make.

“In wet cycles, they need to let more water out, and in dry cycles, they need to retain more water. If they had taken this commonsense approach this year, in the fourth year of a wet cycle, it would have helped reduce flooding significantly,” Hoeven said.

The report echoed this concern, stating that “It is clear that the basin experiences varying periods of dry and wet weather . . . . During dry periods the Corps could try to maximize storage in the System while reducing storage during a wet period.”

The report outlined other areas for improvement, including better water storage allocation practices, technology upgrades for improved data collection, and research into prairie snowmelt runoff.

In early December, Hoeven, along with Senator Kent Conrad, asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine key issues related to 2011 Missouri River flooding, and to provide recommendations for improving flood control operations along the river system that would mitigate future flood risks, especially when the basin is in a wet cycle. Hoeven looks forward to reviewing the additional information the GAO report may provide when it is released, he said.