Missouri River Water Management News

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Public reminded about risks of living behind levees, below dams

Published April 11, 2013
Aerial view of Gavins Point embankment, spillway and powerplant

Aerial view of Gavins Point embankment, spillway and powerplant

Missouri River Levees Omaha to Rulo, Neb.

Missouri River Levees Omaha to Rulo, Neb.

OMAHA, Neb. — Dry conditions throughout the Missouri River basin since last summer might lead some communities throughout the Missouri River basin to believe that the risk of flooding is nonexistent this year, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, wants to remind everyone that flood risk management remains a primary consideration despite the growing concerns about the impacts of the drought.

“The risk of flooding still remains even during a drought, particularly due to isolated thunderstorms in areas below Gavins Point Dam where the Corps does not have a way to regulate the runoff,” said Kim Thomas, Chief of the Emergency Management Office. “We want to remind residents throughout the basin to remain vigilant even during this drought period. Take a moment and consider where you live and ask yourself:  Do I live below a dam, behind a levee or in a flood prone area?  If you do, we recommend researching useful resources and tools you can use to inform the actions you take to ensure your preparedness.”

Beth Freeman, regional administrator for FEMA Region VII, echoes that sentiment. "Regardless of whether you live in or out of a designated floodplain, flood insurance can mean the difference between a quick recovery with new possibilities or the uncertainty that accompanies disaster recovery without it.” For more information on flood insurance, visit http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flood_facts.jsp.

“Flood risk management is a shared responsibility we all need to take seriously,” said Omaha District Commander Col. Joel R. Cross.  “Public safety is our top priority.  Our dams and levees function as risk reduction measures they do not eliminate flood risks.  Therefore, we ask you to continue to work together in providing effective risk communication to all.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers has published a guide, “So, You Live Behind a Levee!” It can be found at http://content.asce.org/ASCELeveeGuide.html. A similar resource for areas located near dams, “Living with Dams: Know Your Risks” can be found at http://www.livingneardams.org/.  

“We encourage people to take time to read and share this information with their friends, family and neighbors to help prevent the potential loss of life and property due to flooding,” said Thomas.

Maggie Oldham
Kimberly Thomas

Release no. 20130411-001