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Additional disaster project for Mississippi County approved
CHARLESTON, Mo. -- Mississippi County will get to submit one more disaster relief project to FEMA.
"The commission has received approval" to turn in the after-deadline project, County Clerk Junior DeLay told commissioners during their regular weekly meeting Thursday.
County officials requested an additional spring flood disaster relief project for Brewer's Lake after water levels dropped low enough to reveal the drainage conduit had silted in.
Debra Johnston, the Federal Emergency Management Agency project specialist that was assigned to Mississippi County, is slated to come back this week to write the project on her way to her next job, according to DeLay.
"She has been assigned to Joplin," he said.
This project has an additional requirement, however.
"They will have to call in an environmental team but they will write it up," DeLay said.
Presiding Commissioner Carlin Bennett said he wonders if the project will require a full environmental assessment.
Bennett said environmental activists have now decided standing water in holes scoured by the activation of the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway is in need of protection.
In related business, Bennett advised of the outcome of a meeting held Nov. 22 in Washington, D.C., to determine the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's responsibility for damages to public roads during emergency and post-emergency operations.
The corps will not be signing a right-of-entry, which would have resulted in immediate reimbursement for damage to roads, Bennett said.
"They're throwing us into the Corps claim process," he said, which could take three or four years to be completed.
Bennett said it was also decided the corps is not responsible for damage caused by the activation of the floodway, only damage caused while repairing the levee, but is to provide FEMA with documentation of damages.
An update on the corps' efforts to restore the levee was also provided by Bennett.
Bennett said corps officials have indicated they expect to have the entire levee built back to 51 feet before winter weather shuts down work but are "a little less optimistic about getting to 55."
Another 15 days of good weather are needed for 55 feet, he said.
Bennett expressed concern as there is a "higher-than-normal forecast for rain" for January through March.
If the levee is not at a height that protects the county from flooding along its entire length, "it's like having a rain barrel with one slat missing: It looks like a rain barrel but won't hold water," he said.