Floodwaters finally have receded within the banks of the Missouri River. Now, the evaluation of what went wrong this summer begins.
Evaluations of how the Army Corps of Engineers handled the flood of 2011 will come from many angles. The Corps has hired an independent panel to review its actions. Congress has considered a review. The governors of the Missouri River Basin want a review. Separate federal, state and local agencies will demand reviews.
Brigadier General John McMahon, commander of the Corps’ Northwest Division, pledges the Corps cooperation.
“We really don’t have anything to hide here. This is all about being accountable and doing the best we can under these very trying and unprecedented conditions and we’ll just play our role as dictated by whatever comes,” McMahon says.
The Army Corps of Engineers itself has hired an independent technical review panel to study how it handle excessive snowpack runoff and record spring rains upstream on the Missouri River. The six main stem dams upstream on the Missouri River couldn’t handle the water. The Corps opened up the dams to relieve pressure on the reservoirs, causing widespread flooding in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. The upstream releases continued throughout the summer, causing widespread flooding throughout the Missouri River Basin, until the Corps lowered releases back to normal levels.
The independent panel is composed of representatives of the National Weather Service, the U. S. Geological Survey, the Natural Resources Conservation Service National Water and Climate Center and a professor of Colorado State University. The panel is to review whether the Corps could have prevented or reduced the impact of the flooding. The team is complete its work by December 2nd.