ST. LOUIS (AP) - A long-delayed project to close a huge levee gap and improve drainage in southeast Missouri is moving forward.
The Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday announced plans for public meetings to discuss a proposed environmental impact statement for the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project. Meetings will be Aug. 27 in East Prairie, Mo., and Aug. 28 in nearby Cairo, Ill.
The levee holds back the Mississippi River from agricultural land in the Missouri Bootheel region, but it has a 1,500-foot gap.
A $100 million project that also includes drainage improvements in the Missouri towns of Charleston, East Prairie and Sikeston was given the go-ahead in 2006 but halted a year later over concerns raised by environmentalists. A federal judge agreed to put the project on hold.
With rains on the way and levees around the soccer fields already pushed to the brink, the St. Louis Youth Soccer Association has canceled this year's Lou Fusz Soccer Club Midwest Cup.
Floodwater continues to threaten the area around Newtown and Highway 370 in St. Charles. The water is near the top of an agriculture levee next to the St. Louis Youth Soccer Association (SLYSA) fields. '
Instead of getting ready to hit the fields, youth soccer players and coaches have been working alongside the National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and St. Charles firefighters to reinforce more than a mile-long stretch of a levee near the field.
St. Charles Fire Chief Rick Daly says keeping the wall intact is about a lot more than protecting the soccer field. "If the levee fails here," he said, "it can potentially compromise areas in both the city and the county, and we don’t want that to happen."