Plan addresses many concerns
WASHINGTON - With the flourish of an ink pen, a long-awaited flood control project could soon get under way in Southeast Missouri.
Brigadier General Don T. Riley, president designee of the Mississippi River Commission and Commander of the Mississippi Valley Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has signed a Record of Decision approving the Final Revised Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project. The ROD completes the Corps' requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act and will allow the Corps to initiate the construction phase of the project.
"The record of decision marks the end of plowing through paperwork and the all clear for shoveling dirt," said Eighth District Congressional Representative Jo Ann Emerson. "The St. Johns flood control project has been a long time in coming, but there is no more critical infrastructure issue for Missouri counties on the Mississippi River than flood protection. The levee closure, new gravity gates, and pumping stations will mean protection for farms, people, homes, the communities of East Prairie and Pinhook, as well as many others."
The revised plan addresses a variety of environmental concerns from preservation of old-growth bottomland hardwood forests at Big Oak Tree State Park to providing a source of surface water for seasonal flooding. Also addressed by the plan is allowing for a connection between the Mississippi River and the New Madrid Floodway during the critical spring fish reproductive period.