“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of April 25: Preparing for Mother Nature’s Surprises

Over the past decade, we have seen several examples of extreme weather in our part of the state. Most of the time, it is possible to know when adverse weather is coming, and then prepare for it. Other times, it can be the aftermath of the weather itself that is worse than whatever flooding or storms that came through.

To this end, I am sponsoring Senate Bill 984, which creates the Flood Resiliency Improvement Fund. This dedicated fund would be used to increase flood risk resiliency, improve statewide flood forecasting and monitoring capabilities by providing a unified funding source for engineering studies, construction projects and modeling. Funding for these activities is currently piecemealed across several agencies. Under my plan, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources would take the lead role in coordinating and collaborating across state and federal agencies to develop and implement flood resiliency planning.

This fund would also work to compliment the Missouri Hydrology Information Center, which the governor has recommended creating through federal funding. Through this fund, the state would have the ability to address stakeholder-identified needs by providing a flexible, long-term funding source. Many of these flood-resiliency programs would require stakeholder participation, which means they may take longer than a single fiscal year to gain support.

The flood events of 2019 impacted both the Missouri and Mississippi river basins and caused billions of dollars in losses. My hope is using this fund will allow us to be proactive when it comes to flooding events. In my opinion, SB 984 has the potential to minimize the impact of future flooding events. I hope my cohorts in both the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives will send this legislation to the governor for his signature.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.