Omaha Public Radio News
12:21 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

Sen. Ben Nelson meeting Thursday with Corps of Engineers officials

Omaha, NE – U.S. Senator Ben Nelson plans to meet Thursday with a top Corps of Engineers official about this year's Missouri River flooding.

During his weekly conference call Wednesday with Nebraska media, Nelson announced he'll be meeting with Brigadier General John McMahon. Nelson says he wants to know if the Corps has accounted for winter weather projections in its 2012 operating plan.

He also wants to know if anything could have been done to prevent this year's devastating Missouri River flooding. "Perhaps the Corps couldn't do anything different this year to minimize the flood damage that washed away bridges and roads, submerged hundreds of thousands of acres of farm land, closed dozens of businesses, ruined homes, and disrupted thousands of lives along the Missouri. But it doesn't have to be caught flat-footed again."

A report released Tuesday by the Nebraska Farm Bureau says farmers along the Missouri River lost $106 million worth of crops this season.

Earlier this week, the Governors of seven Missouri River states met with the Corps of Engineers to continue discussions about next year's operating plan. The Governors, including Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, want flood control to be the Corps' top priority.

The Corps of Engineers plans to hold a series of public hearings on the flooding and response. The first meeting is Monday in Omaha.