As late as April of 2011, the Water Management Chief for the Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, expressed an opinion in an e-mail to a concerned citizen that the mountain snowmelt this year would “be nothing to write home about.” This internal e-mail, among many others recently released through a Freedom of Information Act request by Gannett’s Washington Bureau, exposes that assertion as a gross misstatement of known facts.
The e-mails reveal that a cadre of hydrologists, engineers, and National Weather Service (NWS) officials had repeatedly warned the chief, Ms. Jody Farhat, beginning in January about the danger posed by up to 500% higher-than-normal snowpack looming in the mountains above. Multiple sources also informed the Corps that the snow had an abnormally high water content, which, combined with NWS reports of soil saturation levels of 99% in much of the Dakotas and nearly all of Montana, greatly added to the likelihood of epic flooding. Even the Corps headquarters in Washington warned Ms. Farhat about the growing danger. She dismissed their concerns.
Note the “she” again. And what did this parachuted placewoman say, in response to her getting it woefully wrong?
Under her direction, the Corps plodded along, conducting business as usual right up until the last moment, when conditions forced a radical shift from an all-is-well status to an ark-building emergency almost overnight. Confronted by the worst flooding in the history of the Missouri River Basin, Farhat attempts to deflect criticism by claiming that the snowpack was “just a bit above normal” until mid-April, when it “skyrocketed.”
Joe’s primary concern is the environmental impact of the decisionmaking of this woman. My primary concern is the parachuted woman herself, who placed her and why? In the end, it comes down to the same thing. Here is the thinking process of the parachutee:
A front-line operational manager expressed his concern to Ms. Farhat that the information being passed on to the Corps decision-makers was routinely ignored, worrying that if such a dismissive attitude continued, the managers “will not even bother to call in, or provide input, if they feel like they’re not being heard.”
He continued, “We’re all concerned about being in our exclusive flood control zones … but what concerns me more is the feedback that I’m hearing: ‘It doesn’t matter what we say so we may as well keep our mouths shut.'” Farhat’s response was that the operations managers don’t have a “system-wide perspective.”
My hand is currently being gnawed off in an attempt to hold off apoplexy. It’s not just the parachuteeism but the sheer incompetence which goes with it. Now don’t get me wrong – any parachutee invokes my ire but as most of these in these sorts of key positions in society are a certain type of leftist female – that’s who I’m down on.
Part of this incompetence is the “I never err” syndrome, adopted by leftists in general but especially by leftist women in management roles:
Farhat asserts that the agency made no mistakes and has managed releases in accordance with its manual. “We are getting questions like, ‘You saw the snow, so why didn’t you release more?’ In the manual it doesn’t make a difference. We reached right where we needed to be,” Farhat said, referring to reservoir levels measured on March 1.
I had this on my own site not three days ago where, confronted with fact after fact after fact and links all over the place, quotes etc., a certain left-liberal still came in and said there was no evidence.
In a previous article, I examined the upended priorities of the Corps as written in the revised Master Manual. The dam system is now being utilized to mimic the natural flows of the pre-dam river in the name of returning the river to some pre-human state of nature.
What is meant by this “reconnecting” catchphrase? The definition is readily apparent in a Missouri river that has spread out to more than 11 miles wide in places. Entire towns are inundated. Neighborhoods in towns that predated the dams themselves now lie beneath the surface of the water, victims of a river “reconnected to its floodplain.”
The eco-restorationists are shamelessly touting the spectacular flood control benefits derived from their reconnection strategy. What they do not say is that their strategy does not control flooding in any commonly understood sense.
And here’s government bureaucratic thinking at its finest [from a commenter]:
In a town along the Allegheny River in PA, residents were informed this spring that due to new surveys, they are now in a flood zone, and must get federally subsidized flood insurance. Amazingly, it has never flooded in the 80 years since the lock and dam system was built, and the flood wall was constructed to protect the low lying areas of the town. Added to that, when the town applied for federal funds ($30,000) to help renovate the flood wall, even though they had 75% of the money, the government turned them down. The reply was on the line of: since you are in a floodplain, there’s no point to revamping your flood wall.
In sum, the federal government, in its infinite wisdom, decided that it is better to require 5,000 residents to buy insurance from them than spend $30,000 to prevent the floods in the first place.
I live in Iowa across the river from Omaha. This flood has devastated the lives of many of my friends and neighbors. I have friends whose homes are underwater. They have flood insurance, but FEMA will not declare the flooding a disaster so that money can be released to these people. They are having to pay their mortgages on their flooded homes while also paying out rent.
All the flooded roads and interstates are going to have to be rebuilt. Bridge supports are being compromised and many of them are going to have to be rebuilt. I work in Omaha and now my commute is doubled because of closed bridges–this greatly increases transportation costs for the huge number of people who commute across state lines. It will be at least 2 years before these roads will be able to be used.
The flooded farmland is destroyed. There are places where the river has created hole 70 feet deep! It is estimated that it will be 5-10 years before this land will be arable again. The cost of this debacle is billions and billions of dollars. The people who are responsible for this need to be held accountable and prosecuted.
Now I’m going to leave the actual Missouri and related rivers issue itself and look at this phenomenon whereby the flooding of whole towns, rebuilding after the disaster, compensation, insurance, cost, cost , cost in terms of family livelihoods and infrastructure, not to mention arable land, all comes down to Ms Jody’s green idealism and her incompetence as a placewoman, not to mention her highhanded handling of the experts in the field.
I don’t think any more needs to be said on this.
Further reading [H/T Chuckles]