NEW MADRID - Closure of the gap between the Frontline and Setback levees was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1954 but construction never proceeded because a closure without additional drainage measures would have resulted in longer periods of ponding in lower reaches of the floodway.
Today, a lack of adequate drainage at the southern end of local drainage systems contributes to a wide range of flooding problems from north of Sikeston to sections of Interstate 55 when local rainwater is unable drain to the south.
Pumping stations and channel work which would alleviate this problem were authorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, but the project floundered when local interests were unable to come up with the required local matching funds totaling 25 percent of the project.
In 1996, the Water Resources Development Act authorized USDA to use East Prairie's enterprise community funding to contribute to the local cost share for the pump stations and channel improvements.
In the spring of 2003, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources reversed their 2002 denial and granted water quality certification with the addition of new conditions. Environmental Defense then appealed the water quality certification to the state administrative tribunal. The appeal is still pending.
With the water quality certification in hand, the Corps issued a final Record of Decision for the project on August 22, 2003.
The lawsuit alleges, however, that the Corps did not fully incorporate DNR's conditions into its record of decision or reevaluate its economic analysis.