The cost of maintaining the Birds Point-New Madrid spillway

The cost of maintaining the Birds Point-New Madrid spillway

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - When you think of the Birds Point levee you probably remember when the Army Corps of Engineers blew it up in 2011.

Today, a local farmer said the recent rain is an expensive reminder of what it takes to maintain the spillway.

Ed Marshall owns land in the Birds Point-New Madrid spillway. He said rain costs the levee district thousands of dollars to keep track of it.

“It was a rough year last year, for the levee district,” he said.

Marshall heads the Mississippi county levee district. They monitor the water at the Birds Point-New Madrid flood way.

"We're trying to keep the water that's inside the spillway from impacting the crops as much as we can," he said.

He owns two-thirds of the farmland located inside the spillway. His concern is the amount of money it takes to man the pumping stations.

“We pumped more hours last year then we’ve pumped in the twenty something odd years I’ve been on this levee district,” Marshall said. “The main thing that we have different than anyone else is the spillway which is subject to flood or blow which then impacts us more so than anyone else."

Last year’s floods cost them about $600,000 to pump water.

“It depleted our funds for the maintenance and stuff for the levees,” he added

He said they don't need a repeat of last year.

“If we continue to pump like this and we have to pump until March we won’t have no money,” Marshall said.

Although it’s been a kind of wet winter already, he said he can only hope next year is better.

“I wish that we can get a decent winter so everybody can kind of catch your breath, and get a normal year, whatever that is. Where we’re not having to fight water,” he concluded.

Marshall said they’re going to continue to man the pumping stations until the water goes down.

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