Army offers timeline to reopen Birds Point Levee

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | 9:18 a.m. CDT; updated 5:18 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WYATT — The Army has informed members of Missouri's congressional delegation that while restoration of the land behind the Birds Point Levee is a high priority, accurate damage assessment won't begin until July at the earliest.

The Southeast Missourian reported Wednesday that a letter sent to U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, and both U.S. senators from Missouri warned that additional rain could compound the problem and slow the assessment.

The Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the levee on May 2 to relieve pressure from the flooding Mississippi and Ohio rivers at nearby Cairo, Ill. The breach flooded 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland and damaged or destroyed as many as 100 homes.

Emerson criticized the letter's lack of specifics, saying it offered no solutions aimed at draining the floodway faster.


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