Levees face financial challenges without Army Corps support

WESTON, Mo. - After the Missouri River flooded in 2011, the levees required nearly $180 million in repairs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers footed the bill for some of those repairs, but many Missouri levee districts have had to pay their own way.

Outside of Weston, water lines still stain trees, and ponds are carved into farm fields where levees were breached.

"When you've got 90 days of water roaring through here, it's amazing that any of the levees are still here," said Gary Anderson, president of the Weston Bottoms Levee and Drainage Association. The small group of nine farms finances ten miles of levees.

The flood left Weston Bottoms with $300,000 worth of repairs, but they got it done. Anderson said they had no choice.

"Without this levee, we have nothing," Anderson said.

The levee not only keeps farm fields dry, it also stops water from spreading into parts of Weston.

The levee currently receives no financial assistance from the Army Corps. If it meets the Army Corps standards, the government could pay for 80 percent of future repairs. But right now the Army Corps hasn't even approved the money to inspect the levee.

Anderson said farmers cannot afford another flood.

"We've already gone to the well several times, and right now I'd say it's a little dry," he said.

Josh Marx, natural disaster program manager at the Kansas City Army Corps office, said only about 150 levee districts in the area qualify for government assistance. Hundreds of others do not.

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