Governor Jay Nixon met with Missouri Levee and Drainage District members in Columbia this weekend. He and other state and federal officials responded to over eight months of questions from farmers and others on how Missouri’s waterways will be protected from future massive flooding. This is the first time a Missouri governor attended an annual levee district association meeting in over 15 years, and with good reason, as Governor Nixon addressed the standing room only crowd, he branded 2011: “the year of natural disasters.”
“With the flood fights they had this summer, the resources they had were depleted, with you know, diesel for the pumps, and all of the other things. They were in a situation where they didn’t have the dollars. Using our community development block grants, that help economic development in this way, we think this is a solid way to help rebuild that economy and get those levees rebuilt quickly,” Nixon said.
The historic flooding throughout Missouri left hundreds of thousands of acres of valuable farmland and residential areas under water for months, That memory drew questions from the audience who were concerned with the over sixty-million dollar funding disparity between fish and wildlife projects and practical flood management. Governor Nixon and his political colleagues concluded more government dollars should go to flood management.
“With the disaster we saw this year, it’s the most important...the highest need, to get the levees rebuilt. And habitat can come later on. So, I don’t disagree, that the blend this year ought to lean more toward rebuilding the infrastructure, and then go back to the other way,” Nixon said.
The meeting also was an announcement for the Governor’s community block grant that will aid six locations along the Missouri River with one-point-two-million dollars to rebuild damaged infrastructure.