Republican Leader of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Sam Graves (R-MO), Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Water Resources and Environment Ranking Member David Rouzer (R-NC) and Subcommittee Chair Grace Napolitano (D-CA) introduced the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA).
"WRDA projects provide benefits to our communities throughout the country and to the entire U.S. economy," said Graves. "By improving navigation through our ports and inland waterways, strengthening flood control and river management practices, and addressing other water resources infrastructure, WRDA is vital to American families, businesses, and farms everywhere. This commonsense bill takes a big step forward in making flood control and navigation the top priorities in managing our rivers. It places strict limits on the supersized science experiments on the Missouri River, gives local levee districts along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers more tools to protect our communities from future floods, and makes new headway in addressing longstanding bank erosion issues on the Lower Missouri River. It's a great example of how Republicans and Democrats can still work together on bipartisan legislation that truly puts Americans first."
Since 2014, Congress has passed a bipartisan Water Resources Development Act every 2 years. The legislation authorizes projects and governs the management of our nation's waterways and water resources. Critically, the bill includes the following priorities for North Missourians:
Interception-Rearing Complexes (IRCs)
WRDA 2022 places strict limitations on the construction of new IRCs on the Missouri river and ensures the Corps of Engineers takes immediate action to address any negative impacts on navigation, flood control, or bank erosion caused by the construction of IRCs. Additionally, the bill requires all mitigation lands along the Missouri River acquired with federal funds to be counted towards the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Projects goal of 166,000 acres. Currently, only lands acquired or mitigated with Corps of Engineers BSNP Mitigation funds can be counted. Land mitigated with funding from other federal agencies is not counted.
In 2014, the Corps of Engineers placed new video inspection requirements on local levee districts. This new requirement left levee districts staring down massive bills to perform the required inspections to stay in the PL 84-99 program. In some cases, local levee districts don't even have the legal authority to raise local taxes enough to fund these inspections. WRDA 2022 reverses this unfunded mandate and requires the Corps to work with levee districts to get these inspections done and ensure districts remain in compliance.
This legislation creates a new demonstration program to address bank erosion impacting levee districts and private landowners on the Lower Missouri River based on prior efforts on the Upper Missouri River.
Projects in North Missouri
The bill also creates the Northern Missouri Environmental Assistance Project, which will help fund $50 million worth of sewer and stormwater projects in St. Joseph, Hannibal, Camden Point, Excelsior Springs, and Smithville, Missouri.