A task force that’s studying ways to bring federal, state and local officials together to improve flood control in Iowa and four other states met for the second time in Des Moines today. General Michael Walsh of the Army Corps of Engineers says the task force was created in response to the recent midwest floods.
Walsh says the engineers do a damage survey of levees to determine how they were impacted by the flooding, to see if a culvert was blown out if there was "wave wash" or overtopping. They use the information in that survey to write a "project information report."
Walsh says they then take that report to state and local officials and try to decide if they want to repair the levee based on an 80% federal, and 20% local split of the cost. Walsh says they’ll also open up a discussion on whether there is an environmental impact of putting the levee back or if there’s an economic benefit of putting it back in place. Walsh, who oversees the region for the Corps, will then make a decision on what to do.
Walsh says this approach allows them to make a decision beyond just rebuilding the levee back in place. Walsh says they look at approaches to reduce the flood risk, including putting the levee back in its current configuration and location, deciding if the levee should be moved to allow for more area for flood waters to move back and forth. Walsh says those decisions are made at both the state and federal level.
Walsh says there are a lot of "nonstructural alternatives" to rebuilding an earthen levee. One example is a removable levee that’s like those used in Davenport that’re put in place when the waters start to rise. Walsh says some local governments handle flood risks by building codes, codes that floodproof specific homes as opposed to putting in levees to cover large areas.
Walsh says the task force will also take into account the concerns of getting a flood protection system in place as soon as possible to prevent future flooding. The task force covers Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, along with Iowa.Not posted.