WATER®, a MOARC publication and a registered trademark, is the newsletter of the Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition (MOARC).  WATER® provides timely updates on matters of importance to the MOARC membership and stakeholders.

December 2018 Newsletter 

August 2018 Newsletter


May 2018 Newsletter 

February 2018 Newsletter 











MOARC Waterdrops supplement the MOARC published newsletter – WATER®, a registered trademark to provide timely updates on matters of importance to the MOARC membership.


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  • 24 Dec 2018 8:21 AM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    Missouri River Management Plan Record of Decision Signed.  In a US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) news release Tuesday 20 November, the Corps announced that the Northwestern Division Commander Brig. Gen. D. Peter Helmlinger signed a ‘Record of Decision’ for the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.  The Record of Decision (ROD) completing the development of the Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement has been anticipated since the release of the final Environmental Impact Statement in August 2018. 

    The plan outlines future recovery program activities along the river for the three endangered species (Interior least tern, Piping plover, and Pallid sturgeon) that will allow the Corps to continuing to operate its Missouri River projects for all their authorized purposes while complying with the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws. The selected alternative of the Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (MRRPMP-EIS) is to provide for a structured, scientific process to monitor, evaluate, and adjust actions through Adaptive Management, which includes collaborative engagement with the MRRIC.  MOARC supported the selected alternative as the alternative with the least impact to the continued operation of the river; however, continues to raise concerns regarding potential impacts to authorized purposes within the lower Missouri basin, the one-time high flow release of waters as a spawning cue test, and public involvement in the Adaptive Management decision-making. 

    The Corps developed the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and with unprecedented engagement with the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC), which includes members representing basin Tribal governments, states and stakeholders.  MOARC members continue to participate in the MRRIC process, monitor the implementation of the Adaptive Management, and will continue to provide updates to membership through WATERdrops.

    The Record of Decision is available online at: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/mrrp/mgmt-plan/ in the “Final Documents” section.


  • 16 Dec 2018 9:21 PM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    Once again Advocacy Works!   The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released the 2019 Civil Works Work Plan on Wednesday 21 2018.  The Work Plan included two projects for the region that MOARC has advocated during both the Spring and Fall 2018 Congressional visits.   The Work Plan identifies the Kansas River Reservoirs Flood and Sediment Management Study as one of the six new start studies across the nation and Manhattan Levees construction as one of the new start construction projects. 

    The Kansas River Reservoirs and Sediment Management Study was formerly referred to as the Kansas River Basin Study will be initially funded at $1,500,000 as a multi-purpose study to investigate additional flood risk management opportunities, sediment control and management in the Kansas reservoirs, water supply sustainability, and potential ecosystem restoration within the Kansas River basin.  The watershed-based study has long been a priority of the State of Kansas and water supply entities within the basin.   MOARC has been a strong advocate of the watershed study and made it a priority over 2017 and 2018 as we have worked hard with the Corps, OMB and the Congressional offices for this project and new start water resource projects across the nation.  The naming and funding of the new start is a significant accomplishment for the region and we are looking forward to the kickoff of the study.

    The naming of Manhattan Levees as one of the construction new starts is funded at $18,494,000 which constitutes funding to complete construction of the levee improvements.  The 1993 flooding event in the Kansas River along with the releases to the Big Blue River from Tuttle Creek Reservoir threatened downtown Manhattan, Kansas.  The design and construction of the project incorporates a levee embankment rise across the 28,850 feet of levee along with utility and structure modifications.  Completion of the project will provide a reduced risk of flooding to 1,700 homes and 600 businesses valued at over $1.1M.  With full construction funding for Manhattan Levees along with recent successes in completion or funding to completion of Topeka Levees, St. Joseph Levees, Turkey Creek Basin, Swope Park Industrial Area, Blue River/Dodson Industrial District and the recent funding of Kansas Citys Levees under the Supplemental budget bill, integrated flood control across the region is more of a reality in the foreseeable future.  

    MOARC will continue to push for funding to initiate design of the Upper Turkey Creek Basin Flood Control Project in the 2020 budget and Work Plan along proposed future projects on the lower Missouri River and Little Blue River as well as with flood control, sediment management, and water supply needs in future budgets as the new “Kansas River Reservoirs Flood and Sediment Management Study” identifies needs for the Kansas River and lower Missouri River basins.


  • 23 Nov 2018 9:43 AM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    We have added BG Peter Helmlinger as an additional speaker!   MOARC is hosting its annual membership meeting and social on Thursday December 11, 2018.  The annual membership meeting provides the opportunity for members to discuss the activities and successes of MOARC over the previous year, the proposed areas and activities of advocacy planned for 2019 and participate in the selection of officers and Board members of the organization.  Making it Happen: Then and Now!” is the theme of the meeting as MOARC looks at accomplishments over its 65 years of advocacy.

    Keynote Speakers at the meeting will be Mr. Dru Buntin, Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Brigadier General Peter Helmlinger, Commander of the Northwestern Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers.       


    Mr. Buntin has been asked to present information on water and water related issues and needs of the State of Missouri and the Missouri River basin facing the State of Missouri today and over the next decade.  Water related activities and issues drive the economic and social development across our region.  Dru will address those issues and the interests of the MDNR as they affect the activities and needs of the State and specifically within the lower Missouri River basin.

    BG Helmlinger, as the new Commander of the Northwestern Division, has been asked to discuss the opportunities and challenges he sees in the Kansas and Missouri River basins as he takes command.  With development and implementation of 2019 Corps Work Plan laying out funding for water resource projects in 2019 and the Corps taking on many new projects across the nation stretching resources, as well as, expected changes in Water Supply rules, final regulations driving Section 408 reviews of alterations to public works projects, and the expected implementation of the Missouri River Management Plan; the Northwestern Commander has a lot on his plate. 

    As part of the program, the MOARC Membership drive continues to build the organization and its advocacy outreach to the varied water related interests in the Kansas and Missouri River basins.  MOARC invites you to the members meeting and social to participate in the development of the organization and network with members and interested parties from the business community, local and state governments, congressional offices, and public who have interests in continued economic and social development of the region.  We would like to challenge all current members to bring one or two potential members (individuals or organizations) to the meeting to learn about MOARC advocacy and the role they can play in the protection and development of the resources of the region.  Save the Date for the Members Meeting and Social for:

    Date:  December 11, 210

    Time: 4:30 - 6:30 (Business and Social Meeting)

    Location: Hush Blackwell Law Firm (near the Country Club Plaza)
                    10th Floor Conference Room
                    4801 Main Street
                    Kansas City, MO

    Please join MOARC for the business meeting, keynote speaker, and opportunity to network with others over food and drink while viewing the beauty of the Plaza lights.  Please Save the Date on your calendar, bring others who would be interested in MOARC advocacy, and please RSVP to Ms. Glenda Johnson, Communications Chair, at glenda.johnson@kcmo.org or (816) 513-2635.

  • 11 Aug 2018 5:57 PM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    Project funding continues to flow into the Kansas City metropolitan area.  The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) recently released plans to fund water resource projects across the nation under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Act) to include the Kansas Citys Levees project.  The February 9, 2018 Act provides $17.4 billion for disaster recovery as well as repair and maintenance of water infrastructure, with $453 million allocated for Kansas Citys Levees!  

    MOARC, during its spring congressional visit, discussed the importance of completing regional flood protection and the use of the disaster recovery funding for regional projects but had been advised that KC Levees did not qualify for the funding.  Subsequent to those discussions, eligibility for funding was expanded beyond disaster recovery to include both on-going and new water resource projects of value to the nation. 

    Kansas Citys Levees is now one of 60 flood and storm damage reduction projects selected for funding.  The Corps’ intent is to fund flood control projects to completion.   Kansas Citys Levees has been under construction with most of the improvements completed on the Missouri River levee system (Phase 1).  The area has been awaiting funds to complete the remaining elements under Phase 1 and initiate Phase 2.  That work comprises levees along the Kansas River (Armourdale and Argentine) and pump station improvements.

    The Act provides the full amount of federal funding upfront to the Corps to initiate and complete the remaining design and construction of the project.  While projects in designated disaster areas are to be constructed at full federal expense, other new and on-going projects will be subject to current cost-sharing requirements (65% Federal and 35% non-Federal).

    The upfront funding to completion is unprecedented and provides the opportunity to complete the project in a shorter time frame and provide improved flood protection within the Kansas City metropolitan area.

    Mr. R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, stated that “In providing the current working estimates of funds required to fully fund these studies and construction projects, the Corps’ is showing its commitment to “moving dirt” and, more importantly, to completing studies and construction,”. 

    The tables listing the studies and projects receiving funding are posted at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Budget/ under "Supplemental Appropriations for Disasters 2018."  The Kansas Citys Levees project is under the “Long Term Disaster Recovery Investment Program” and construction.


  • 16 Jul 2018 5:46 PM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    Integrated flood control within the Kansas City metropolitan area continues to move forward.  MOARC along with its partners, KCIC and KCMO, have been advocating the completion of local flood risk management projects with Swope Park Industrial Area being a priority for the region.  The recent release of the Corps of Engineers (Corps) 2018 Work Plan provides funding to complete construction of the flood protection system for the businesses within the Swope Park Industrial Area adjacent to Blue River.

    The Swope Park Industrial Area has coped with periodic flooding for many years.  The most recent flood event in August 2017 led to high-water evacuations after the Blue River overflowed its banks.  The final phase of the project is expected to begin in 2019 and it includes building a flood protection wall and an embankment for a bridge to be constructed in a separate project.  When completed the project will provide protection from a 500-year storm providing significant flood risk reduction protecting lives and businesses in this important industrial area.


    Through the Corps Work Plan the federal government will fund $14.2 million for this final phase of construction. The local share of the funding, $9 million, is being provided through Kansas City Stormwater GO bonds. The businesses within the Swope Park Industrial Area have been long-time partners in Kansas City awaiting completion of flood protection for the various niche industries within the industrial area.  Funding under the 2018 Work Plan to complete flood protection for Swope Park follows other recent advocacy successes to include the Turkey Creek Basin, Blue River/Dodson Industrial District, and St Joseph Levees all being funded to completion.  MOARC has long promoted that the strong partnerships along with effective advocacy continues to deliver projects to the area that reduce flood risk, protecting lives and property, thereby strengthening the regional economy.


  • 12 Jul 2018 5:13 PM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    MOARC continues to monitor flow releases from the upper basin mainstem reservoir system to the lower basin and its effect on the interests and economy of the region and MOARC membership. The Corps of Engineers (Corps) water management offices are reporting waters currently stored in the upstream reservoirs are at levels reaching into the flood exclusion zone.  Due to the higher-than-average upstream runoff forecast in the upper basin the Corps has increased the system’s flows to 25,000 cfs above full service levels to facilitate the continued evacuation of stored flood waters. Storage issues and releases continue to be driven by the melting of the above average mountain snowpack and moderate heavy plains snowpack along with periodic rainfall events across the basin. 

    The increased service level means that Gavins Point releases will be increased to approximately 60,000 cfs, as downstream tributary flows recede.  Gavins Point releases to the lower basin will remain near 60,000 cfs for the remainder of the navigation season to ensure evacuation of all stored flood waters.   Storage within the mainstem reservoir system (storage was 67.8 MAF as of July 1, occupying 11.7 MAF of the 16.3 MAF flood control zone. The Corps reports that approximately 25 percent of the system’s flood storage remains available to capture additional runoff and provides the system flexibility to lessen downstream flooding. 


  • 02 Jul 2018 5:43 PM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    Special Joint Release from the Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition and The Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association

    The Administration, as part of its “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations” (www.performance.gov), is proposing the merging of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) Civil Works with the Department of Transportation (DOT) or the Department of Interior (Interior). The Army Corps Civil Works program has three primary missions: commercial (coastal and inland) navigation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and flood control and storm damage reduction.  

    Specific recommendations affecting navigation include moving the Army Corps dredging and commercial navigation functions from the Army Corps in the Department of Defense into DOT.  One driver for change is consolidation of landside and waterside port investments, which are currently separately administered by DOT and the Army Corps, respectively. According to the plan this reform would “leverage DOT’s expertise in infrastructure, and make DOT’s maritime responsibilities analogous to its role in other transportation sectors.”   

    The “new plan” views the role of Interior as related to that of the Army Corps’ Civil Works, and hence as a basis for change. Interior administers various land, water, and natural resource management programs, some that interface with or have similarity to Army Corps activities. MOARC with sixty-five years and the MVFCA with eight decades of water and related land resources management know first-hand the vast differences between these agencies, their programs and approaches—and those far outweigh the similarities. Environmental permitting and ecological restoration compose the complementary efforts of Interior and the Army Corps.    

    Under the restructuring proposal flood control and storm damage reduction could also be moved to Interior. Although the intent to integrate and align water resources programs is a worthy goal, consideration must also be given to an agency’s primary function and capabilities. Floods have long-been recognized as a threat to national security. For more than a century the Army Corps has strived to defend our nation against widespread floods like those in the lower Mississippi River basin. Since 1936 the Army Corps has been tasked by Congress with helping communities reduce flood damages through local flood protection works—a program that has directly led to the protection of people, property and productivity throughout the MOARC region and Mississippi Valley, and that has averted more than a trillion dollars in flood damages. This mission is not one that can be readily or effectively transferred to a department with neither a focus on defense and national security, nor on managing flood risk.

    While the MVFCA and MOARC respect the laudable intent of improved performance from our federal partners we do not see that being achieved through consolidation of the Army Corps’ flood control mission into Interior—a move quite likely to sink the local flood protection program.  The predictable and almost certain outcome is largely diminished investment in building and maintaining infrastructure, and even more burdensome regulations. What’s needed is streamlined contracting, better options for stakeholder implementation, and infrastructure projects and repairs done faster (perhaps using Federal granting procedures, such as those employed by FEMA). Flood protection is crucial to communities throughout the Mississippi Valley and the MOARC region; cities, like St. Joseph, MO, Topeka and Manhattan, KS, Kansas City, MO and KS, and many others depend on it. Local sponsors seeking to invest in flood control infrastructure need a federal partner on their side that understands the importance of protecting communities and helps get sensible requirements that can be implemented in concert with, and not instead of, flood control and storm damage reduction. 

  • 27 Jun 2018 5:32 PM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    The Turkey Creek Basin project continues to move forward toward completion in 2021.  The Missouri Interceptor is the final project phase of the Turkey Creek Flood Damages Reduction Project and a major component to an integrated approach to flood control within the Kansas City metropolitan area. This final phase along with the completed Kansas Interceptors and Turkey Creek Channel Improvements will complete the 23-year project and provide significant improvement in flood control along Turkey Creek and the businesses along the Turkey Creek corridor within the Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan area.  The Missouri Interceptor project consists of improvements to lower Turkey Creek and construction of storm water interceptors to collect hillside drainage and convey it to Turkey Creek.  These improvements include a levee extension; lowering of the creek at the tunnel entrance; a new dual outlet structure and storm water interceptors and associated inlets, and relocation of sanitary sewer and water main structures.

    Two construction contracts were awarded for the Missouri Interceptor and both contractors mobilized and construction activities underway.  The Corps of Engineers reports that the outlet structure and first 300 feet of dual 10-ft by 9-ft reinforced concrete box structures have been installed and backfilling above the outlet is currently progressing.  Placement of anchored concrete walls in the channel is approximately 60% complete.  Backfill of the interceptor and construction of the levee using imported impervious fill is ongoing.  Work has also begun on the sanitary sewer relocations necessary to continue the main interceptor section under BNSF railroad tracks through the Union Pacific rail yard crossing multiple railroad tracks.  Relocation of the first of two existing sanitary sewers in the rail yards has been completed and excavation for the relocation of the second sanitary sewer line has begun.   

    Partnerships between the governments of the two cities, the Corps of Engineers, congressional offices, local stakeholders and advocacy organizations such as MOARC and KCIC have set the stage for completion of this final phase of the flood control project.  Completed construction of the initial phases of the project have provided significant reduction of flooding within the basin and with the completion of this final phase of construction expected in 2021 additional risks to lives and property along the Turkey Creek corridor will be realized.  

  • 26 Jun 2018 5:35 PM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    The Policy Workshop and project prioritization will take place on Tuesday July 31st, from 2:00 pm ‐ 5:00 with a social immediately following at the Husch Blackwell Law Offices, 4801 Main Street, 10th Floor Conference Room, Kansas City, MO 64112.

    Click on letter for more information.

  • 23 Jun 2018 5:30 PM | Tom Poer (Administrator)

    Lawmakers are pushing back against the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) reprioritization of the Corps of Engineers (Corps) Work Plan for 2018 Civil Works projects.  The 2018 Work Plan released on 11 June provided much of what MOARC working with its partners across the region has advocated for in flood control for the region. However, a critical project for the future of the region, the Kansas River Basin study, was not included in the 2018 funding package.  The Kansas River Basin study was advocated as a New Start project to look into operational changes on the Kansas River basin reservoirs to address future water supply requirements for the State of Kansas, as well as, additional downstream flood control opportunities on the Kansas River and its tributaries.  The proposed study was prioritized by the Corps as one of the six mandated New Start studies across the nation.  It passed the review of the Corps leadership and continued as a priority project through the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, but was omitted from 2018 funding by the Office of Management and Budget.  MOARC has taken exception to the reprioritization of the agency’s work plan by OMB and has sent notes to the regional delegation highlighting the concerns in OMB manipulation of an agency’s recommendations.  When Congress curtailed its earmarking the intent was to have the agency act as the expert on project priorities and amounts to be funded out of the allocation provided by Congress.  Several congressional offices apparently agree with MOARC as shown the article below that came out in Bloomberg Government on 18 June.

    Lawmakers to White House: Hands Off U.S. Army Corps Projects:  If lawmakers don’t get to pick and choose their favorite infrastructure projects with earmarks, neither should Mick Mulvaney. That’s the message from House appropriators who hope to block the White House budget director’s authority to change Army Corps of Engineers construction plans.  House appropriators unanimously agreed in a voice vote last week to insert a measure in their financial services spending bill, which includes general government appropriations, barring the White House Office of Management and Budget from amending the annual work plan developed by the Army Corps of Engineers.   

    The measure is intended to push back against what appropriators see as arbitrary decisions to remove projects from the original plan developed by the Army Corps, said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who offered the amendment. The issue has become significant in the last “couple years” under the Trump administration, Simpson said.  “They’re things that I guess Mulvaney doesn’t agree with,” Simpson said of the removals. “And that’s not his job.”  OMB spokesman Coalter Baker didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    The budget office and the Army Corps don’t say what portions of the work plan are OMB suggestions, but there have been several instances during the Trump administration in which a partially finished infrastructure project was excluded from the annual work list to the surprise of lawmakers who had expected the projects to be included.  

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MOARC Association
PO Box 22647
Kansas City, MO 64113

(816) 977-1690

MOARC promotes the beneficial use of water and land related resources in the Missouri River Valley including the areas of
Agriculture, Environment, Flood Damage Reduction, Navigation, Recreation, Shipping and Ports, Power, Water Quality and Supply.

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