Governor Branstad is preparing to meet with governors from other downstream Missouri River states to discuss how they can influence management of the river.
“I’m hopeful,” 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. Branstad wrote the governors of Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas a letter in April, seeking to form a new association of downstream states. And 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 who is going to be the next chair of National Governors Association is, I think, going to put a meeting together on the 19th of August for 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.”
A spokeswoman for Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman declined to comment. Officials with the 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.