Senator John Hoeven today urged the conferees of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill to retain a provision in the final Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Funding legislation pressing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement a soil moisture and snowpack monitoring program to help mitigate the possibility of flooding along the Missouri River. The provision, which was included in the Senate-passed Energy and Water Appropriations bill, clarifies that that the snowpack monitoring program is eligible for funding and presses the Corps to include the program in future budget requests.

“The Corps needs to take into account soil moisture and snowpack levels when making management decisions regarding flows on the Missouri River,” said Hoeven. “This provision clarifies that the Corps has funding available for activities necessary to carry out this monitoring along the Missouri River. This will help provide the Corps with additional tools to better manage the Missouri River and mitigate the possibility of flooding.”

Hoeven signed a letter, led by Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), to press for the inclusion of the Senate provision in the final bill. The text of the letter is below:

Dear Conferee,

As the conference process moves forward for the fiscal year 2019 energy and water development appropriations legislation, we ask that you retain language from the Senate committee report in the final conference report.

Language informing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) that the previously-authorized soil moisture and snowpack monitoring program is eligible for funding from the USACE’s Operation and Maintenance account was included in the Senate energy and water development appropriations legislation (S. Rept. 115-258):

“Soil Moisture and Snowpack Monitoring Program.--Following the 2011 Missouri River Flood, the Government Accountability Office released a report concluding that increased soil moisture and snowpack monitoring could have mitigated the impact of the flood on communities along the Missouri River. Accordingly, WRRDA section 4003 authorized a soil moisture and snowpack monitoring program to be administered by the Corps in coordination with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Reclamation. Section 1179 of the WIIN Act identified the Corps as the lead agency for carrying out and coordinating this monitoring program. Activities necessary to carry out soil moisture and snowpack monitoring are eligible for funds provided in this account. The Corps is also encouraged to provide sufficient funding in future budget submissions for this program.”