STOCKTON, Mo. --
Officials held an emergency preparedness tabletop exercise at Stockton Lake in Stockton, Missouri, on December 6, 2023, to showcase the joint emergency preparedness between local, state and federal agencies in the area.
The tabletop exercise was coordinated and led by the Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In attendance at the exercise were representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, Missouri Highway Patrol and St. Cloud County Emergency Management.
The tabletop exercise focused on the communication and coordination efforts during operational releases or an extreme, rare flood event. During the exercise, USACE emphasized that it regularly assesses the conditions and risks associated with Stockton Dam, along with its other civil works projects.
The next periodic inspection of Stockton Dam is scheduled for June 2024. According to Allen Chestnut, dam safety program manager at the Kansas City District, USACE has assessed Stockton Dam to be low risk.
Assessments of USACE-maintained dams consider the potential of an overtopping of the dam and the risk posed to the population living downstream. The dam safety assessments also assist local emergency management agencies and USACE in coordinating emergency efforts and a communication plan in the event of a dam breach. Julie MacLachlan, outreach specialist with the Kansas City District, spoke about the importance of risk communication and emergency messaging during times of crisis.
“Risk communication is an interactive process; it is an exchange of information,” said MacLachlan.
Local emergency management agencies are the front lines of emergency preparedness in their communities. To better serve the community, local agencies work closely with USACE and other state and federal partners. Tabletop exercises like the one conducted for Stockton Dam are routine opportunities to identify areas for improvement in the shared responsibility for emergency preparedness.
“Risk communication is a team effort,” said Chestnut. “[USACE] needs the help of our partners to get the message out in a flood event.”
Additional resources are available to help the public better understand the risks associated with USACE dams, and general dam safety, and include:
National Inventory of Dams: https://nid.sec.usace.army.mil/#/
Kansas City District Dam Safety Website: https://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Dam-Safety-Program/