Flooding to persist: Even after the Missouri River returns to its banks, portions of the floodplain will remain under water, said Jody Farhat of the Army Corps of Engineers. Farhat said not all floodwater flows directly into the river, so some will continue to drain out via tributaries or may slowly recede as it soaks into the ground or evaporates.
Squaw Creek reopens: Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge south of Mound City, Mo., reopened Friday. Refuge gates will be open from sunrise to sunset. Flooding covered some of the habitat ground and auto route as northwest Missouri experienced its worst flooding since 1952, according to refuge staff. Flooding pushed area creeks out of their banks, and local levee breaches prompted the closing of the auto route on June 22. For information on the refuge and fall migration events, call 660-442-3187 or visit fws.gov/midwest/squawcreek.
What's your opinion? Iowa officials want to hear more about how Missouri River flooding has affected people and how the river can best be managed. They've scheduled a meeting for Sept. 9 at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. The meeting begins at 1 p.m. at the college's Looft Conference Center and is sponsored by the State of Iowa Missouri River Authority. Gov. Terry Branstad will attend. Those unable to attend can provide written comments by fax at 202-624-8189 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toxic algae: Blue-green algae, otherwise known as toxic algae, has been discovered in seep water that has pooled behind the levee south of Elwood, Kan., said Jud Kneuvean of the Army Corps of Engineers. Emergency workers have been told to stay out of the water there. Elwood is across the river from St. Joseph, Mo. "It's a product of conditions," Kneuvean said. "Basically, we've had a lot of standing water that's not moved, and it's just ripe for a bloom — hot conditions, lots of nutrients." Blue-green algae has plagued ponds and lakes in the region and gained notoriety several years ago when a dog in the Plattsmouth area died after exposure. None of the toxin has been found in floodwater in Nebraska or Iowa, said Kim Thomas of the corps.
Don't accept rejection: If your application for disaster aid has been turned down, FEMA officials encourage you to re-apply. Charlie Henderson of the Federal Emergency Management Agency advises Nebraskans to read their letter of ineligibility closely to see what was missing from the original application. Providing that information could well make you eligible, he said.
Recovery: A Disaster Recovery Center opened Friday in South Sioux City, Neb., to assist those affected by recent flooding. The center is open at the City-County Law Enforcement Center, 701 W. 29th St., for only two more days: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Monday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It will be closed Sunday. Counties designated for assistance to individuals are Boyd, Burt, Cass, Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Knox, Sarpy and Washington. Future recovery center locations will be announced as they are scheduled. Before visiting a center, people with flood-related losses should register with FEMA even if they have applied for assistance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, filed a claim with the Army Corps of Engineers, received assistance from local volunteer agencies or called the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency flood hotline to report their damage. Register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
Back in their boats: The Missouri River between Parkville, Mo., and St. Louis has been reopened to navigation, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Highway damage: The State of Missouri estimates that highway damage in the northwest corner of the state will range from $5 million to $10 million. Rick Bennett of the Missouri Department of Roads said known damage includes U.S. Highway 136 west of Rock Port, U.S. Highway 159 near Fortescue, Highway 11 north of Big Lake and Highway 59 near Rushville. Numerous other smaller roads are damaged, too. The full extent of road damage isn't known because flooding is ongoing. "We haven't seen anything like this in many decades," Bennett said.
Party time: Volunteers who assisted with sandbagging efforts during the flood of 2011 deserve some fun — as in Fun Plex. A party to honor flood volunteers is planned for Sept. 10 at Fun Plex, 7003 Q St., from noon to 8 p.m. Volunteers will receive free admission. The cost is $10 and $5 for children ages 3 to 9. All volunteers in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area who register are eligible to attend. Reservations are limited. Volunteers are asked to say how many family members will accompany them. Omaha volunteers can register at sandbagging.eventbrite.com, the Omaha Parks Foundation at 402-444-3614 or email email@example.com. Council Bluffs volunteers should call the Mayor's Office at 712-328-4601 or sign up on the website.
World-Herald staff writer Nancy Gaarder, with the World-Herald News Service.