Overton Levee to Stay Closed

1 decade 7 months 6 days ago Friday, May 11 2007 May 11, 2007 Friday, May 11, 2007 9:25:15 PM CDT May 11, 2007 in News

It happened in the Missouri River bottoms not far from I-70. Cooper County farmers were upset when the Missouri Department of Conservation opened a levee that held waters that could destroy their crops.

"Well, if the pipes are left open, then the seep-water will eventually just go across the road here and start flooding our corn fields," said Andy Clay, farmer.

Clay says the Overton Water Levee District received an alarming telephone call from the Missouri  Department of Conservation. The Overton Levee District says it has the right to keep the levee pipe closed, but this morning, the Missouri Department of Conservation said that they had the authority to open it.

The department was not available to talk on camera, but representative John Smith, gave us their side. The department's plan in opening the levee was to allow excess water in the river to flow into a basin, reducing the water levels. It was not their intention or estimation that the water would affect the surrounding land, and they believe the exchange of information was a misunderstanding.

Both sides agree that there was poor communication.

"They had called my father this morning, which was the President of the Levee District, and asked him if it was ok to open the levee. And my father was like 'No way, there's no way the levee district would go for that.' And four hours later or whatever we got the call that they had opened it and the water was coming in," said Clay.

Clay hopes the two sides can handle the problem better next time. As of 1:15 p.m. this afternoon the levee remained closed. The Conservation Department says it will stay that way because of the farmer's strong criticism.

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