(SIOUX CITY, IA) It's been nearly a year since record flooding in 2011 caused widespread damage up and down the Missouri River basin. Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a report looking at whether additional water storage could reduce flood risk in the future.
According to the Corps' report, if storage space were increased by 30 percent this would drop peak release rates, but would not have prevented widespread damages, like we saw in 2011. That's why emergency managers say we may need to re-assess the entire flood system.
"We need to take those lessons learned and turn them into action plans."
Woodbury County Emergency Management Director Gary Brown says that action plan should be to re-evaluate the flood system entirely, because he believes the flood of 2011 was not just a one time event.
"It's definitely a shift, it's definitely a shift in thought process, and we believe based on what we're hearing from all the hydrologists and the meteorologists and what we see taking place over the last five to ten years, there is definitely a pattern of climate shift to a wetter, more heavy precip(itation) events that we need to be ready to compensate for."
He says the dams were built back in the 1950s and although they are perfectly capable of managing flood control,
"They were built based on the significant even that took place just prior to their construction. And they were built to contain that sort of an event. What we saw last year was an event that exceeded the design of the dams," he said.
Jeff Dooley, the Dakota Dunes C-I-D manager says he hopes the Army Corps can be in constant contact with key players when looking toward the future.
"We need to understand how the Corps intends to operate the river, they have to understand what our limitations are as communities along the river, so we need to stay in close communication with them and work with them in operating the system as a whole," said Dooley.
The Corps will release an assessment in May, detailing the damage that occurred last summer, and Dooley says that's the first step in preparing for the future.