Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Agreement Ends Levee Standoff $48 Million Federal Project Will Benefit Ste. Genevieve

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Agreement Ends Levee Standoff $48 Million Federal Project Will Benefit Ste. Genevieve

Article excerpt

The rural levee district downstream from Ste. Genevieve, Mo., has agreed to reduce the height of its levee, an act that would clear away federal threats to stop work on a big new levee to protect the town.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had threatened to prevent work on that $48 million federal project if Ste. Genevieve County Levee District 2 did not remove rock used to heighten its own levee during the flood of 1993. The federal agency, known as FEMA, said that extra height caused excessive flooding in other areas along the Mississippi River.

On Monday, Levee District 2's board voted to endorse a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers that would require District 2 to remove from two to five feet of the rock from atop its levee. A spokesman for FEMA said that would satisfy its objections.

"If that works out, we'll be as happy as we can be," Frank Bagley, deputy regional director for FEMA in Kansas City, said Tuesday.

Representatives of District 2, FEMA and the Corps are to meet Thursday in the Corps office in St. Louis to shake on the deal.

"Certainly we were concerned about seeing that the city gets its levee," said Emerald Loida, chairman of the District 2 board. "Let's just say we put our heads together and gave a little here and there. We're not losing nearly as much as we anticipated long ago."

District 2 had hoped to keep the rock or at least to be forced to remove only a foot or two. But FEMA has wanted it gone since fall 1993 and last August threatened Ste. Genevieve County with suspension from federal projects.

That would prohibit the Corps of Engineers from spending any money to build a new levee 3.5 miles long in front of the city of Ste. Genevieve. The U.S. Congress finally approved that long-sought project after 1993.

It would protect the town to a height of 52 feet, or about 2.5 feet higher than the record flood crest in August 1993. …

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