Governor Mike Parson, left, visits with Dan Stanton, right. Dan and Janette Stanton’s White Barn made for a perfect meeting place for Governor Parson to met with officials from Atchison County and six other agencies both state and federal to get an update on the L-536 levee setback project.

Atchison County Levee District 1 Board President Ryan Ottmann, right, and Atchison County Presiding Commissioner Curt Livengood, left, sat in on the panel discussion. Both expressed their appreciation for the willingness of the state and federal agencies’ cooperation to get this project completed.

Governor Mike Parson traveled to Rock Port on Thursday, April 8, 2021, to meet with all entities that were involved in the setback of Levee-536. This setback was not an easy task as it involved the cooperation of the land owners, five state and federal agencies (Department of Natural Resources, National Conservatory, State Emergency Management Agency, Department of Conservation, and Natural Resource Conservation Service), two local entities (Atchison County Commission and Atchison County Levee District No. 1) and the Army Corps of Engineers. This many government agencies working together is unheard of and, in most cases, the amount of red tape causes projects like this to fail.

We in the United States tend to do a good job rebuilding following a disaster the same as it always was, but in this case forethought was put into how to prevent this in the future by eliminating a pinch point.

The governor opened by thanking everyone involved in the levee repairs before turning the floor over. The Army Corps of Engineers was first to update everyone about their portion of the project and some of the inventive features that were used to move over 1.6 million cubic yards of material to build the new setback. One of the methods used to achieve moving some much material was to use a dredge in the Missouri River. This dredge was able to bring in over 300,000 cubic yards of sand. By using a dredge the cost of the sand went from $40 to $60 per cubic yard to only $17, due to the fact it was not trucked over a long distance. Ryan Ottmann, president of the Atchison County Levee District, spoke about the impact that this project has had to the area from the new levee that will protect thousands of acres of farm ground to the impact it has had on the local economy, along with the creation of new habitats along the Missouri River.

After the panelists spoke, the governor said in a closing statement that we have come a long way and thanked everyone for their efforts. He also stated there is more work to be done. Governor Parson was leaving Atchison County to go to Nebraska to meet with the governors of Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas to discuss continued efforts on flood control for the Missouri River.