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Missouri River Levee System Flood Risk Management Project

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Units R471-460 and L-455 (St. Joseph, Mo., and Elwood, Kan.)

The metropolitan area of St Joseph, Missouri, is protected by a federal levee system constructed in the mid-1960s. This system consists of two separate units. Unit R471-460 is located on the right bank of the Missouri River and protects the cities of Elwood and Wathena, Kansas, as well as the Rosecrans Memorial Airport and Missouri Air National Guard facilities. Unit L-455 is located on the left bank of the Missouri River and protects portions of the City of St. Joseph. Both units also protect significant agricultural property and unincorporated areas. Both units are part of the Missouri River Levee System authorized by the 1944 Flood Control Act.

During the Missouri River Flood of 1993, the right bank unit failed flooding homes, businesses, and infrastructure. The left bank unit passed the flood but was near to overtopping. As a result, there was a concern that the levees may provide less than the design level of flood damage reduction. At the request of the local levee districts, a review of the levees was initiated in 1999 to evaluate the existing level of flood damage reduction and determine alternatives for possible improvement.

The Feasibility Report was published in September 2006. The feasibility study evaluated various improvement alternatives using a risk-based analysis, including the no-action plan. The Recommended Plan calls for raising approximately 10 miles of Unit R471-460 as mush as up to 3.3 feet above the existing elevation and raising a short reach of unit L-455 almost one foot above the existing elevation. The plan also includes improvements to the geotechnical and structural features of the existing project.

Additional detail, including maps, can be found in the Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment documents available for download from this web page.

In September 2009, a Design Agreement was signed between the Corps of Engineers Kansas City District and the local levee owners to proceed with the necessary work to prepare for implementation of the Recommended Plan. The design work will be independently reviewed by experts within the Corps to ensure quality and proper adherence to current standards and criteria. The Review Plan, available on this site, details the levels of review that will be applied to the project.

This page will be periodically updated with additional information as it becomes available.