The governors of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and the lieutenant governor of Kansas were in Council Bluffs Friday to meet with representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency about flood recovery efforts.
Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Mike Parson of Missouri and Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers of Kansas met at the Council Bluffs Police headquarters and spoke with the media following the meeting.
“I appreciate them coming over and sitting down and talking about ways we can be innovative, flexible and really address the rebuilding process,” Reynolds said.
Ricketts explained the process they spoke of was primarily separated into three categories. The first was short term, plugging the holes and repairing levies right now. The second, was asking what intermediate steps the four states could act on together. The final step is long term, and what can be done to better manage the river.
“We identified four major breaches on the Iowa side, and it was encouraging to find out three of the contracts have already been let on the four major breaches,” Reynolds said. “We need to plug the holes before we start any of the rebuilding, because we have an inflow of water at this point.”
The governors explained part of the intermediate term projects after the levies, is identifying what they called choke points.
Reynolds said that two of the major breaches are tentatively set to be repaired by the end of July, and she said that originally were expected to take a year.
“In Iowa two of the choke points we’re looking at addressing are Iowa Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 34,” Reynolds said. “We’ve identified them as we look at the rebuilding process, and we look at the four major breaches as a way we can coordinate that process by addressing the choke points and the passage of the river going forward. That could have a significant impact.”
The governors emphasized the goal of working together as four states, Congress, FEMA and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep finding solutions.
“We do understand property and lives are our number one priority when it comes to the Missouri river,” Parson said.