Hoeven Presses Need to Maximize Flood Protections This Year, Prevention Next Year In Meeting With Gen. McMahon

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today called on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwest Division Commander Gen. John McMahon to maximize efforts to protect residents on the Missouri River from flooding this year, and to have a solid plan in place to prevent flooding next year. McMahon, who is in charge of managing the Missouri River system, met with Hoeven this morning in Washington to brief the Senator on the Corps’ strategy for the 2012 season, which the agency plans to release Friday.

McMahon indicated that the Corps is working to balance how much water the agency releases this year to create enough storage for next year, and at the same time, reduce river and reservoir levels so that residents can get back into their homes and the agency can inspect and repair levees, dams and other critical infrastructure before next season.

“As they introduce their plan for the 2012 runoff season, the Corps needs to provide good, credible analyses for its decisions and explain clearly how it plans to protect people now and in the future,” Hoeven said. “After the current season, people along the length of the Missouri River will be looking for reasonable assurance that the Corps is thoroughly thinking through its plan to address similar challenges that may occur in the future.”

Hoeven also asked if the Corps has the authority and funding it needs for a thorough and aggressive flood protection effort. McMahon said they have the flexibility in terms of authority, but may need more flexibility to move funds. Hoeven is working to help in both capacities in his role on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.

In addition to maximizing flood protection, Hoeven is working in a longer and broader view on river management with his Senate colleagues on the bipartisan Missouri River Working Group, which Hoeven cofounded with Senator Kent Conrad and the Missouri congressional delegation to enhance reservoir capacity and maximize beneficial uses. The group includes the congressional delegations of seven Missouri River Basin states.