By James F. Lowe, Kansas City District, Public Affairs Specialist
WASHINGTON, Mo. — Stakeholders, customers and elected officials were guests of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, for the annual Missouri River tour Aug. 16.
The purpose of the trip aboard the district’s barge is to provide a first-hand look at the Civil Works projects the district builds and maintains along the Missouri River and to receive questions and comments from stakeholders.
The barge tour travelled from Washington, Mo., downriver for several miles, allowing guests to see flood risk reduction measures, navigation elements, and the new bridge project by Missouri Department of Transportation along that stretch of river. Heavy rains caused the on-river portion to be shortened.
About 90 guests attended the river tour this year. Eric Shumate, chief of hydrologic engineering, spoke on the role of the Corps in managing the water during potential flooding events. Jud Kneuvean, chief of readiness and contingency operations discussed the Corps role in the repair of levees after high water events. Additional subject matter experts from the Corps onboard answered questions and addressed the concerns of the stakeholders about Corps projects along the river on the barge and at the reception afterward.
“For the Corps to choose our city is a great honor and we enjoy being hospitable. Being close to so many of the Corps personnel for conversations helps build new relationships and that is how productive things happen. Everyone is talking and having a good time which makes this an excellent event,” said Sandy Lucy, mayor of Washington.
Stakeholders from several cities in the surrounding area participated in the tour and reception.
“Even though I am a resident along the river, I had never been out on the river and I really appreciate having this opportunity with the Corps of Engineers,” said Mark Wehner, city of New Haven.
“The enthusiasm from the members of the Corps to show and explain things to the residents and city officials what the Corps does to maintain the river and the economy and all the tributaries coming in to the area for our good. The Corps willingness to answer questions really helps,” said John Vietmeier of the Missouri River Country Board.
One of the primary purposes of the Missouri River main stem reservoir system is to reduce risk and damages from floods to people, homes, and businesses. The Corps remains committed to operating the river to serve the congressionally authorized project purposes and to balance the competing needs of the Missouri River Basin.
Col. Doug Guttormsen, Kansas City District commander, summarized the importance of collaboration by saying, “We can only accomplish what is in the best interest of the nation and the stakeholders in the Missouri River Basin by working together.”
The Kansas City District is a team of dedicated professionals with a strong heritage and proven results who, in collaboration with our partners, proudly serve in the Heartland providing leadership, technical excellence, and innovative solutions to the nation's most complex problems.