Iowa Governor Terry Branstad met over the weekend with Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman and governors from other downstream states to discuss how they can influence management of the river.
“I’m hopeful,” Governor Branstad says. “I think the timing is right to try to influence a new direction and a better way to manage the Missouri River basin.”
Branstad has been arguing that downstream needs like flood control have been ignored by the Army Corps of Engineers, in favor of upstream interests such as recreation. He wrote the governors of Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas a letter in April, seeking to form a new association of downstream states.
With record flooding this year, Branstad says the time is right to make this push.
“We’ve gotten a very positive reaction,” Branstad says. “In fact, the governor of Nebraska is going to put a meeting together on the 19th of August for the downstream state governors to talk about how we can influence the management of the Missouri River so we don’t have another extraordinary flood like we’re experiencing right now.”
Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say they’re simply following federal law in managing the river for a variety of uses. According to officials with the Corps, flooding would be far worse without their oversight.