This week was a district work week, and in addition to my Congress to Kansas events, I had a chance to tour the Missouri River flood zone with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The tour, led by Colonel Anthony J. Hofmann, Commander of the Kansas City District of the USACE, was conducted on the river via watercraft, starting in St. Joseph, Missouri and ending in Atchison, Kansas. During the tour we saw ongoing levee, dike revetment and river structure repairs, and, once docked in Atchison, we held a public meeting at the Lewis and Clark Pavilion to update residents on the status of flood rehabilitation efforts within the lower Missouri River Basin.
Two of the top priorities of the Federal Government are maintaining a strong and durable infrastructure and protecting American citizens. In order to achieve both of these goals, it is imperative that the replacement and repair of the crumbling flood management infrastructure along the Missouri River and an update of the Army Corps of Engineers' water management strategies remain a top priorities of the Congress.
The folks along the Missouri River have suffered through historic floods that threatened their homes, their families, their businesses, and their livelihoods for the last several years. While heavy rain, historic snowmelt have undoubtedly been at work, much of the flooding this year, and in years past, can be attributed to the outdated water management strategies by the Army Corps of Engineers and the older or worn down levees and flood mitigation infrastructure. These are two factors that we can, and must, improve if we wish to protect our communities from preventable disasters.
I have introduced commonsense legislation that requires the Army Corps of Engineers to take into account all precipitation data from last year's record levels in the Missouri River basin when making future river management decisions, which will help to reduce the risk of future flood events. Additionally, I was pleased to see improvement in the flood infrastructure along the river this week, but we must continue these efforts. It is essential that Congress acts to improve both infrastructure and planning tools in order to protect our communities from future preventable floods.
I continue to take an active part in discussions with the other members of the Missouri River Working Group and Chairman Mica of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on how to pass my bill and other legislation through the House that would both prevent future disasters. The economic and personal impact of these floods are immense, and we must do all we can to stop them in the future.