While locations along the upper portions of the Missouri River are looking to find areas where the river could expand beyond its existing paths during times of severe flooding, the local corridor is focusing on restoring the levees to previous levels of protection.
This comes as the Missouri is predicted to go from a level of 12 feet Friday to 17 feet Sunday due to heavy rainfall.
Only a few days ago, paperwork was sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue the process of repairing the main levee protecting Jefferson City from flooding.
Jefferson City Operations Division Director Britt Smith, who also sits on the board of directors for the Capital View Levee District, said their main concern now is to get back what was destroyed in last year's floods.
"We had to get easements, and that took a while," he said. "Our focus is getting what we had put back in place and that would mean a levee to protect at 30 feet."
There's a couple of reasons to get easements, Smith said.
"The levee is there, but the fill, the dirt and sand to rebuild it, is not there," Smith said. "The sand and dirt has been scattered in the farmers' fields from the river so the idea is to use that to rebuild the levee, so we need an easement to get onto those fields to get that material. We also need an easement to be able to drive across some of those fields to directly access the levee. That's more efficient than just coming down the levee to work on it."
The Corps announced in August that Capital View had been approved for rehabilitation assistance.
Capital View, which was breached by floodwaters around May 24, sustained five or six large breaches, with the largest about 1,000 feet long. The breaches caused flooding at the Jefferson City Memorial Airport and throughout North Jefferson City.
Four other levees were approved for Corps assistance after they were damaged by flooding:
Renz, an agricultural levee upstream of Jefferson City on the left descending bank of the river.
Reveaux, an agricultural levee downstream of Jefferson City on the left descending bank.
Wainwright, an agricultural levee downstream of Jefferson City on the left descending bank.
Cole Junction, an agricultural levee upstream of Jefferson City on the right descending bank of the river.
Not only were they overtopped, but the levees also suffered breaches and deep scour holes, which are areas where water has eroded bed material underwater along a levee.
Levees can be built back to their pre-flood conditions, according to current rules the Corps follows. The cost to repair is shared between the federal government and the local levee sponsor. The federal share is 80 percent, and the non-federal share is 20 percent of the actual construction costs.
In addition to the 20 percent cost-share the local sponsor is responsible for providing without cost to the federal government, all lands, easements and rights-of-way necessary to complete the repairs.
With hundreds of levees needing repairs, the Corp estimated it could take up to two years to repair them all and the cost could be around $1 billion.