1. Investment in Infrastructure: We support an appropriation for a watershed study that provides an implementable plan for flood control and sediment management for the Upper Mississippi River. The primary goal should be to protect life and property.
2. 408 Permissions: The comprehensive study should clarify on-going maintenance of the levee system due to changes in weather or river sedimentation can rest with the local sponsor. We oppose the use of 408 “permissions” for flood control projects. Today, 408 “permissions” are misinterpreted and used more broadly than their original intent which was river navigation.
3. Weather Simulation: For the implementable flood control plan for the Upper Mississippi, we support using a weather event simulation, similar to the one used for the Lower Mississippi, to develop the project flood design.
4. Water Storage: We support compensation to individuals and entities who voluntarily take on water during flood events. We also support enhancement of upland storage including streamlined permitting and investment. Coordination with USDA and/or other federal agencies should be considered.
5. Public Private Partnerships: We support the evaluation of public private partnerships for flood control improvements and encourage more clarity on the availability of such opportunities and cost-share options.
6. Agriculture as Number One Industry: Farm land is an irreplaceable natural resource and agriculture is the number one industry in the Midwest – this should be made clear in all legislation, studies and plans as it relates to water resources.
7. Economic Evaluations: When considering flood control improvements, we believe an economic impact indicator called the “Regional Economic Development” (RED) should be used instead of “National Economic Development” (NED). The latter does not consider future economic development or environmental benefits.
8. Environment Benefits: Levee flood protection systems provide significant environmental benefits. These outstanding environmental benefits should be fully included in the Regional Economic Development (RED). These systems act as detention basins: reducing the amount of sediment, nitrates and phosphates into the river system. Levees also reduce erosion and run-off rates.
9. Management: The Mississippi River Commission (MRC) has existing congressionally authorized jurisdiction of the Upper Mississippi River. We support MRC’s active engagement to fulfill such authorized purposes for the Upper Valley. We also support establishment of a 7 to 9 person advisory subcommittee by the Mississippi River Commission (MRC), consisting of representatives of the Upper States and Levee Districts, to assist the Commission with operation and maintenance issues in the Upper Valley.
10. Coordination for the entire River System: We support better coordination and efforts to speak as one Upper Valley with the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA), United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association (MLDDA), Neighbors of the Mississippi (NOM), Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative and the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River to maintain flood control as the top priority for river policy.