Iowa Governor Terry Branstad plans to meet next month with several of his counterparts from other states in the Missouri River basin to discuss the waterway’s management, or as some would say, its mismanagement. Jen Ray Hein is spokeswoman for Nebraska’s Governor Dave Heineman, who will host the summit on August 19th in Omaha.
Hein says, “Governor Heineman has invited seven U.S. governors to meet in Omaha, Nebraska, to talk about the recent flooding of the Missouri River.” She says the governor hopes to foster open and frank talks about the troubles on the waterway.
“Great response so far,” Hein says. “There are five governors that will be attending, another two that are invited. In addition, Governor Heineman also plans to invite officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.” Governors Branstad and Heineman will be joined by the top leaders of Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota, and a representative for the governor in Wyoming will also attend.
The governors of Missouri and Montana have also been invited. Hein says the goals of the meeting are clear. Hein says, “The real point of this is for the governors to be able to get together and candidly discuss water management issues along the Missouri River.” Water continues to jet from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota into the Missouri River at the rate of 1.1 million gallons per second.
The flooding has lasted for weeks and has wiped out thousands of acres of farmland and dozens of homes and businesses. The flooding is expected to continue into September. Some blame the Corps of Engineers for placing too much emphasis on recreation and not enough on flood control. Corps officials say the flooding is due to intense rains and the melting of heavy snowpack in the Rockies and they claim the flooding would be far worse without the Corps’ management.