Upper Mississippi River Comprehensive Plan


UMRBA Position Regarding

Development of an Emergency Action Plan

(Approved May 14, 2003)



As the Corps of Engineers develops the Upper Mississippi River Comprehensive Plan (UMRCP), authorized in Section 459 of the 1999 Water Resources Development Act, the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA) recommends that one of the products of that effort be an emergency action plan.  In particular, the UMRCP plan formulation process should develop and evaluate at least one alternative that reflects a systemwide operational strategy for conveying floodwaters during major flood events.  Such an alternative would presumably include such actions as strategic controlled levee overtopping, temporary levee raises, and minor structural modifications to accommodate the operational strategy.  It would also include interstate and interagency agreements regarding floodfighting, which would address questions associated with when and where floodfighting should be focused.  As evidenced during the 1993 flood, floodfighting can be expensive and dangerous and can increase river levels in the immediate area and possibly upstream and downstream as well.


The UMRBA recommendation that floodfighting be addressed in the context of a comprehensive operational strategy referred to as an “emergency action plan,” or sometimes called a “flood routing plan,” is consistent with the recommendation of a variety of previous efforts, including the Corps’ own Project Management Plan for the UMRCP:


Project Management Plan for the UMRCP (August 2002)


·      “The study will investigate a systemic flood routing plan consisting of operational and/or minor structural modifications to the existing flood damage reduction system, that would seek to minimize economic damages from major (1 percent chance and greater) flood events.”  (Section 2.5.2, page 7)

·      “Additional Products: …. Investigation of the potential for an existing conditions flood routing plan.”  (Section 6.10, page 34)


Galloway Report (June 1994)


“Action 8.3:  Federal and state officials should restrict support of floodfighting to those levees that have been approved for floodfighting by the USACE.


The USACE would determine by advance planning, with the benefit of river hydraulic modeling analysis, those levees that can and those that cannot be floodfought without significant adverse impacts on other properties in the floodplain.  This action would not prevent floodfights which are consistent with state and local floodplain management regulations under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).”  (p. 117)


Floodplain Management Assessment (June 1995)


“Preparation of a fully coordinated and comprehensive plan for conducting future floodfight efforts, which includes consideration of when to cease or limit Corps floodfight assistance, would be a valuable tool for improving future flood responses.”  (p. 9-6)