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Levees and flood protection take center stage at conference

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The levee in West Quincy, Missouri.
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Representatives from several agencies attended the talks.

QUINCY (WGEM) -- Several levees across the Tri-States are not strong enough to withstand another major flood, according to local emergency managers and levee district officials.

These concerns were voiced Friday at the annual meeting of the Upper Mississippi, Illinois, and Missouri Rivers Association (UMIMRA).

Emergency managers from Des Moines County, Iowa, Adams County, Ill., and Marion County, Mo., were in attendance to talk to representatives from FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Discussions were based around experiences with fighting flooding, what to expect with future flooding in a changing climate, and why there has been a slow response to flooding damage from federal officials.

UMIMRA chairman Mike Klingner said he was particularly eager for FEMA and Corps Engineers from Washington D.C. to hear about the situation on the ground since repairs are long overdue.

"In prior floods, we saw the repair work relatively quickly, within about six months. It's been two years now since the 2019 flood and we still have these damages that have not been repaired. If we do have high water this fall, it would be a very serious risk in some of these districts," he said.

Klingner said there are two very important goals of meetings such as these.

First, is to educate federal officials and legislators about the situation on the ground so they see the damage and impact in real time. Second, is for a forum to discuss suggestions on how to improve the situation locally and regionally.

He said several positive suggestions were made to help move along improvements in damaged levee districts such as the Hunt-Lima district.

Klingner said he hopes the involved parties can draft a new systemic flood control plan in the coming weeks.

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Logan Williams

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