Sam Graves-Protecting People and Property

June 29, 2024

Dear Friend,

Our neighbors to the north have seen some absolutely devastating floods these past few weeks. With both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers rising to flood stage, folks in North Missouri are on high alert and preparing for possible flooding. While proper precautions are being taken, we pray that levees, new and old, will withstand the flood waters and do the job they were designed to do.

At the same time, Congress took up our biennial water resources legislation which, for our waterways in the Midwest, is heavily focused on flood control and navigation. As the head of the Transportation Committee, I was proud to lead the Water Resources Development Act of 2024 (WRDA), following months of hearings, roundtables and stakeholder input. This widely bipartisan bill gives direction to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and authorizes important policy changes, studies and projects to improve inland waterway navigation, flood and storm protection, our nation’s ports and harbors, and other aspects of our water resources infrastructure.

My priorities haven’t changed—the focus is people and property, not fish and birds. Environmental efforts shouldn’t take precedence over protecting folks from flooding. This bill ensures that before the Corps can build any projects for the Pallid Sturgeon in the Missouri River, they must ensure that those projects don’t cause flooding, worsen bank erosion, damage the navigation channel or otherwise harm peoples’ lives and livelihoods. If it does, then they have to mitigate those impacts, by changing the plan or making people whole.

It also charts a new path forward to improve flood control on the Upper Mississippi River, something that’s long overdue. The Upper Mississippi River Flood Risk and Resiliency Study would move towards improving flood protection for communities along the Upper Mississippi River, both in the long term with a system wide plan, as well as looking at individual areas along the river that need attention. It’s been talked about since 1993; it’s time to come together and get it done.

That barely scratches the surface of WRDA 2024, but the bottom line is that it is critical to ensuring that the country’s water infrastructure needs are addressed. Every two years, we’ve been able to take up this legislation, ensuring the Corps of Engineers stays on the right track, our rivers are being managed correctly and bureaucracy doesn’t stand in the way of common sense. WRDA 2024 delivers for not just folks along our rivers, but for the American people. and I look forward to the House taking it up in the near future.


Sam Graves