The FPD Council Board of Directors held its regular meeting on February 15, 2011.  At the meeting, Col. Christopher Hall, Commander of the St. Louis District of the Corps of Engineers provided a presentation on the Corps’ role in the working with the Council to improve flood protection in the area.  He discussed the approach that the Corps will be taking in carrying out the “Section 408” review of the project so that he can provide the required permission for the Council to make alterations to the levee system.  During the meeting, Col. Hall delivered the long-promised Review Plan to the Council’s Board. Col. Hall also made some general observations about the current project design submitted by the Council’s consultant, AMEC Environment and Infrastructure.   Also during his presentation he reiterated the position of the Corps that they will not “certify” any levees that the Corps owns or controls, such as the Chain of Rocks levee.  Certification is an essential step in meeting FEMA levee safety requirements for the purposes of risk assessment for flood insurance.

Members of the Council’s Board expressed their deep concern about the Corps’ ability to maintain the Council’s schedule, citing the evidence of the Review Plan delivered more than 7 months after it was promised.  They also voiced their frustration about the Corps’ unwillingness to certify their own levees, requiring the Council to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do that work.  Later on the agenda, the Board reluctantly committed $155,000 to perform the initial inspection of the Chain of Rocks levee and the Mel Price reach of the Wood River levee.

Les Sterman, staff for the Council, discussed the frustration of the Corps withholding essential information as a matter of policy.  This lack of cooperative communication simply wastes time and money.