- Posted May 18, 2012 by
Bismarck, North Dakota
This iReport is part of an assignment:
A Year Ago There was Panic Along the Missouri River, Now What?
May 18, 2012
One Year Later, the Missouri River Flood of 2011
By Mark Armstrong
One year ago this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced, a then shocking, 65,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) release of water from Garrison Dam. By this time last May, water was pouring out at 52,000 CFS and homeowners along the Missouri River were concerned that boat-wakes would harm their riverfront properties. Two weeks later, those homeowners were battling to save their flooding homes. The Army Corps then announced in the coming two weeks that instead of 65,000 CFS that a summer-long flood topping 150,000 CFS would be necessary.
In the year since the mega-flood of 2011 began, nothing has changed in either the management or manager of the Missouri River, despite pleas from governors, senators and congressmen that something would have to change while we were being flooded to prevent it from happening again.
In the post flood discussion last fall, Brigadier General John MacMahon of the Army Corps said that levees, dams and flood protection should be re-adjusted. He told an audience in St. Louis earlier this month that he did not feel good about having to rebuild the misaligned levee system of old knowing it would foster future flooding.
People from Montana to Missouri living along close to the river are reoccupying their homes and local governments, like Burleigh County, are authorizing millions of tax dollars to fix last year's damages and try to prevent a repeat event. Most went back to the floodplain to live thinking that a repeat event of 2011, statistically a 0.2 percent chance, was unlikely in their lifetimes.
A year ago today (5/18/2011) the Corps predicted a 65,000 CFS flow. 10 days later, May 28th, that prediction went to 92,000 CFS, two days later it was 115,000 CFS, two days later it was 135,000 CFS and then in finally by June 5th we learned 150,000 CFS. The pandamonium the Corps created with their ever increasing flow predictions will happen again, if the same rains and snowmelt patterns repeat themselves. It could be even worse as in 1952 when the Missouri River flowed at more than 300,000 CFS.
Not one person from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lost their job because of what happened. The prediction model is still the same. General McMahon is still in charge and Jody Farhat remains the Omaha-district chief spokesperson. Not one part of the Annual Operating Plan changed to accomodate what we know CAN happen now. That should come as no shock, I know...it was not their fault that the Missouri River flooded, they did the best they could.
When the dams and levees were finished in the 1960's, the Army was confident that all future floods could be managed. Residential, industrial, agricultural uses were allowed on what was previously considered to be uninhabitable flood plains. The Army will spend billions of tax dollars continuing to rebuild and repair dams and levees along the Missouri River, even while their top Missouri River General tells taxpayers that it will foster even more damages in a future flood.
Some say madmen are running the Missouri River now and plotting a course for a future flood even worse than last year's. This was posted in the Bismarck Tribune and at this website. http://ecointheknow.com/featured/beware-upper-basin-the-lower-basin-is-coming-for-your-reservoirs/
The real people who should be mad men and women, are the taxpayers footing the bill for repairs and infrastructure to a flood protection system that the Corps says will not work in the future.