Iowa members of the Missouri River Authority will meet today to consider a proposal to reopen the Flood Control Act of 1944. That’s the authority the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses to maintain the Missouri River and it’s been the center of contention between upstream and downstream states for years. Bernie Hoyer is an assistant to the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Hoyer says it’s been 64 years since the act was put on the books and that was a time when environmental concerns weren’t even on the agenda, as it was more about flood control and navigation. He says while Iowa has been opposed to any changes in the Flood Control Act in the past, it is foolish to not talk about their options.
"I think it’s a pretty hard position not to say that it’s time to take a look," Hoyer says. "No matter what benefits you’ve been getting, as an intelligent person, as an agency, as a service to the public, I think you have to say, ‘Let’s take a look.’" Hoyer says Iowa does have some specific issues with the Missouri River.
He says the concerns involve water, the environment, endangered species, recreation opportunities, fishing and hunting, in addition to energy. The proposal to review the Flood Control Act comes from MORAST, the Missouri River Associations of States and Tribes, of which Iowa is a member.