Western Iowa Congressman Steve King says it appears the Army Corps of Engineers has managed the Missouri River “by the book”, but King says that doesn’t mean the Corps won’t face congressional hearings about this year’s flooding.

“I’ve asked the Corps of Engineers to produce for me the model that (it) had to manage the six dams…in order to prevent this flood,” King says. 

King, a Republican from Kiron, flew over the flood zone in a helicopter last week. “It is something to see. The water that is, roughly, a mile-and-a-half wide most anywhere…and then you get down by Blencoe it’s eight miles wide. Just north of Omaha, it’s 11 miles wide,” King says. “It is something to see, all of this water coming down.” 

King says it will be “a very long summer” for the Iowans who’ve seen their property go under water.

“This is unprecedented water that’s flowing down here. It’s more water than ever before, since we started to measure at least, coming out of the Missouri River basin area and we’ve done a good job of protecting what we can protect,” King says. “It’s devastating. There are, you know, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland that are underwater. There’s more that’s still filling.”

King says congress “will investigate” and “evaluate” whether the Army Corps of Engineers should change its master plan for managing the upriver reservoirs.

“That 16.3 million acre feet of flood storage that was designed into it in the ’50s is what they have maintained all along and they drew back down to that. They got very late spring snow and unprecedented rain up there,” King says. “So now this event that wasn’t expected becomes something that we have to plan for in the future.”

King made his comments during an interview with KJAN Radio.

The six Iowa counties that border the Missouri River have been declared presidential disaster areas.  King and the rest of Iowa’s congressional delegation have co-signed a letter, asking that those same six counties be designated by the U.S. agriculture secretary as disaster areas, too, a move that would free up some federal farm program support for farmers in the area.

King flew over the flooded Missouri River border with Governor Branstad last week. Two other central Iowa congressman — Democrat Leonard Boswell of Des Moines and Republican Tom Latham of Ames — visited the southwestern Iowa flood zone last week, too.

(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)