An update on flood recovery efforts in western Iowa is on the agenda as the State Interagency Missouri River Authority meets today in Des Moines. Chuck Gipp, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the process of cleaning up all of the damage and rebuilding after last year’s summer-long flood is far from over.
Gipp says, “It’s how you help people recover from that event is the biggest struggle that we have and also to see if there’s anything we can do to avoid a repeat of that in the future.” The authority makes recommendations on policies affecting the Missouri River. Besides the D.N.R., groups involved include the state departments of Homeland Security and Agriculture as well as federal agencies, like FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Gipp says making repairs to the damaged floodwalls all along the river is a high priority.
“The levees are an important part of that because people were accustomed to going behind the levees,” Gipp says. “They were told, initially, that what’s going to occur after the six major dam and reservoirs were built upstream. I guess that Mother Nature told us that you can maybe delay it but you can’t get rid of the flooding aspect.” Gipp says much of the D.N.R.’s role is to help state and federal agencies coordinate during the recovery process.
“A lot of what we do, especially when it comes to levee issues, flood plain issues, is depending on the Corps and FEMA and the reimbursement for that,” Gipp says. “I think there’s a good coordination. Some of that was learned simply because of the experiences on the east side of the state in 2008.” He says the panel will also discuss current and potential hydrologist roles and responsibilities in the state.