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Ernst, Grassley Secure Flood Management, Water Safety, Taxpayer Transparency in Senate-Passed Water Resources Package

Ernst is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the biennial water resources bill.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) secured important wins for Iowa in the Senate-passed Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). This biennial bill authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to carry out water resources projects.

“In this year’s water resources bill, I fought hard to include increased flood management, water safety, and taxpayer transparency measures,” said Ernst, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “I’m thrilled to see this important bill pass the Senate and expect the president to soon sign it into law.”

“Senator Ernst and I worked hard to ensure Iowa would benefit from this year’s Water Resources Development Act, and I’m glad that our priorities are included in the package that is on its way to becoming law. This includes authorizations that will help with additional flood control needs in both Cedar Rapids and Des Moines,” Grassley said.

The Iowa senators secured the following key provisions in the WRDA package:

Improving a Des Moines Area Levee

Allows for long-needed improvements to be made to the Southeast Des Moines (SEDM) levee to resolve flooding concerns.

Studying Harmful Algal Blooms in the Upper Mississippi River

Extends the scope of a study on harmful algal blooms – or HABs – so that the Upper Mississippi River and its tributaries are included in the study. HABs occur when colonies of algae grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish and birds.

Updating Cedar Rapids’ Flood System

Authorizes modifications to the flood risk management project consistent with the City of Cedar Rapids’ Cedar River Flood Control System Master Plan to enhance flood protections for the city and provide federal cost-share support.

Creating transparency for Over Budget, Behind Schedule Corps Projects

Requires the Corps to submit a report to Congress listing all taxpayer-funded water resources projects that are either $100 million over budget or 5 years behind schedule, mirroring Senator Ernst’s longtime efforts to shine light on Washington’s most egregious instances of waste. Ernst advocated for the provision at an EPW hearing earlier this year.

Prioritizing Flood Control on the Missouri River Mainstem 

Because of widespread sentiment in the region that the Corps is prioritizing other concerns at the expense of flood control, Ernst ensured flood control is the number one priority for the Corps’ management of the Missouri River Mainstem system.