Full Committee Hearing
"A Review of the 2011 Floods and the Condition of the Nation's Flood Control Systems"
October 18, 2011
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Today's hearing will examine how our Nation's flood control systems responded to the flooding events of 2011. It is important that we take a hard look at these floods, how our flood control systems performed, and what improvements we can make to reduce our flood risk.
I welcome all of the distinguished witnesses here today who will help give our Committee a picture of what happened, what worked, and how we might better prepare for events of this nature in the future.
I appreciate Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy joining us along with the Commanders of the three Corps' Divisions with jurisdiction over these events: Major General Michael Walsh from Mississippi Valley Division, Brigadier General John McMahon from Northwest Division, and Colonel Christopher Larsen with the North Atlantic Division.
I also welcome all of the local witnesses who made the trip to DC and who bring an important perspective of the real impacts these events have on people's lives. And lastly, I want to welcome many of my Senate colleagues who are here to talk about the impacts of the 2011 floods in their states.
Today, we are examining three historic floods, each of which presented unique challenges. These floods, occurring throughout the Lower Mississippi River Basin, the Missouri River Basin, and Northeastern United States, broke many records.
The floods of 2011 remind us of the serious risk faced by communities throughout the U.S. My state of California is home to some of the areas most at risk for flooding in the Nation. Large communities like the City of Sacramento continue to be threatened, and we must address these threats.
There are a number of critical flood protection projects across California that are necessary to protect life and property and to ensure that the state maintains its economic competitiveness.
The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 made significant progress on flood control projects in the capitol of Sacramento, cities across the state of California, and communities throughout the nation. But more remains to be done.
Our nation's flood control systems require continued investment and improvement. That is why we must move forward with a Water Resources Development Act that will allow important projects in California and elsewhere in the country to proceed. We are working on a path forward on this important bill.
Today's hearing will help us understand how we can be better prepared for future flood events. I want to again thank all of our witnesses for being here today. I look forward to your testimony.