Temporary levee being built to protect floodway

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - While the flood fight continues along the Missouri River to our North, new concerns develop along the Mississippi River here at home.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working quickly to protect the floodway down in Mississippi County from taking on even more water.

Crews right now are working at the mid point of the levee breach at Big Oak Tree State Park. They are building a temporary levee to keep more water from flowing into the Birds Point New Madrid Floodway.

The Corps of Engineers started working to build the temporary levee last Thursday. The blast at the end of April blew holes in more than a mile of the levee near Dorena.

"They're addressing all 5,500 feet," said Mark Broughton-Civil Engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers.

It's not just the levee itself, but crews are also building a berm around a large water hole inside the levee.

"We're trying to give them some protection," said Broughton.

"It's a levee around the Blue Hole to keep it from running back into our fields," said Milus Wallace. "It would flood about 30,000 acres if they let it run back in."

Milus Wallace farms about 1,600 acres in the spillway.

"We're out now planting soybeans," said Wallace. He's back in the fields, after losing crops and his livelihood.

"I lost everything including my house, my tool shed, grain bins, car garages, the whole thing," said Wallace.

His brick home is barely standing, and Wallace isn't sure where to even start cleaning up. He and his wife have moved and consider coming back, but on one condition-a permanent levee is rebuilt.

"They need to get started building the levee back, stop dragging their feet," said Wallace. "They need to get it built and soon."

Farmer J.L. Sutton agrees.

"This is great right here (the temporary levee), but needs to be back like it was," said Sutton.

Plans to rebuild the permanent levee remain in the design stage. According to the Corps of Engineers, plans are underway to construct temporary levees at the other two sections along the floodway. Those could start very soon.

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