HEARTLAND FLOOD: Hamburg gets Gov. Reynolds' support in fight for higher levee

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- One small town in Iowa is ready to do whatever it takes to prevent floodwaters from wiping them out, and Gov. Kim Reynolds is joining the fight, calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep their promise.

The massive swell of the Missouri River washed over this levee with ease back in March, swallowing the town of Hamburg. Now, locals are hoping there will be an agreement to build the levee higher.

And if there isn't?

"It will get done whether the Corps of Engineers likes it or not,” said Ron Perry, a business owner in Hamburg. “It's going to get done."

And there’s the rub.

The mayor of Hamburg, along with the Governor of Iowa, said the Corps of Engineers isn't allowing the levee to go any higher.

“There seems to be some discrepancy in the height the Corps believes they have the authority to build it to,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday in a phone interview.

The Corps had agreed to add an additional eight feet to the levee, she said.

“Originally in June, the City of Hamburg signed an agreement with the Army Corps to rebuild the sixth levee to the 919-foot level. So after plugging the holes and getting the four major breaches plugged, they evidently changed the system,” Reynolds said.

When floodwaters started returning in May, farmers built the levee up by three feet — and they believe it protected them from a second flooding.

Dave Mincer is one of those farmers. He knows the levee well; it runs right through his property.

“Things change when you have a flood every seven or eight years,” Mincer said. “Then you've got to rethink things."

Robert Dalton has lived in Hamburg his entire life. He believes adding more feet to the levee would go a long way.

“It would help immensely,” Dalton said. “Then we wouldn't have to worry about it a year or two down the road. I'm just devastated."

The Governor said she doesn’t want to see the town have to go through the trials of another flood.

“My frustration with the Corps is they keep doing things the same way and expecting different results and that's just crazy,” Reynolds said. “We have to have some flexibility, and we need to take a look at the entire system, which we've asked them to do."

6 News reached out to the Corps of Engineers on Thursday but hasn’t yet received a response.