This page discusses how Region VII has been working to support the restoration of the Missouri River Basin in the wake of the 2011 Midwest floods.
Restoring the Missouri River Basin (MRB)
The Missouri River Flood Task Force (MRFTF)
Following the catastrophic flooding in 2011, FEMA Region VII Administrator Beth Freeman participated on the MRFTF which examined both immediate and long-term floodplain management challenges for the MRB.
Members of the MRFTF included federal agencies with authorities and responsibilities in the MRB, tribal members designated by their tribal chairman to participate, and state government-designated leads. Non-governmental organizations, associations, media, and the public also contributed to the work of the task force.
The work of the MRFTF may be complete, but recovery and long-term planning continue as many of its participants and others are working as part of the Missouri River Basin Interagency Roundtable.
The Missouri River Basin Interagency Roundtable (MRBIR)The Missouri River Basin Interagency Roundtable (MRBIR) is a forum of 16 federal agencies with an interest in and responsibility for the river basin that inclues portions of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Members, which include FEMA Regions VII and VIII, agree that the Missouri River Basin ecosystem is worthy of special consideration and stewardship because of its importance to human and natural communities.
The goal of the MRBIR is to leverage member resources and ensure collaboration on strategic initiatives that impact the basin. Through this effort, individual agencies are better informed and able to develop mutually compatible objectives. Collectively, the group is able to address issues that would typically be beyond the scope of any single agency.
MRBIR’s current priorities include collaboration on climate issues, improving the relations between federal agencies and tribes, developing a balanced sediment strategy, improving soil health and water quality, and balancing diverse watershed and ecosystem interests that impact the region.At the July, 2012 Executive meeting in Omaha, Neb., members participated in a tour of areas affected by the 2011 Missouri River flood, and were briefed on a host of topics including soil health and how it relates to the group’s priorities.
“It was so interesting to spend time on the river and see firsthand the variety of work being done, even on a short stretch of the main stem of the River,” said FEMA Region VII Administrator Beth Freeman. “The complexity of managing the watershed is amazing,and it’s exciting to work with the MRBIR agencies, collectively using our strengths for the benefit of this critical watershed.”July’s tour included construction work on the new setback levees near Nebraska City, opportunities to see the positive impact of cover crops in restoring agricultural ground, and the research to assess the long-term ecological impacts of last year’s flooding.
Looking to the future, the agencies of MRBIR are committed to working with tribes, states, and stakeholders, incorporating public perspectives in the vision of improving the environment while maintaining socioeconomic values throughout the basin.
FEMA photos by Cindy Kimber.