More questions from frustrated landowners than answers from the Army Corps of Engineers was the outcome of a meeting that took place at Steinhart Lodge Thursday night.
The Army Corps of Engineers hosted its Fall Public Meeting on Oct. 25 to provide winter forecasts and the fall and winter water release plans for Gavins Point Dam.
According to a National Weather Service forecast handed out at the meeting, warmer and wetter weather is likely in this area this winter.
The first flood outlook for 2020 will be issued by the NWS on Feb. 13, 2020.
The Corps plans to reduce Gavins Point Dam releases to the winter rate of 22,000 cfs by January 2020.
Prior to that, planned November releases will be 80,000 cfs, and December releases will be 25,400 cfs.
These release levels are necessary to evacuate the stored flood waters at Gavins Point, said John Remus, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management team.
During the question-and-answer session, Nebraska State Senator Julie Slama expressed her frustration with the presentation.
Slama noted that the least tern and pallid sturgeon seemed to get more attention in the Corps’ PowerPoint presentation than levee and bank repairs. Col. John Hudson, commander of the Omaha District of the Army Corps of Engineers, reviewed the current state of levee repairs in the district.
He said the Omaha District has 300 miles of levees in it, and levees from the confluence of the Platte and the Missouri rivers south were overtopped for four days during the March 2019 flood.  
He said that the first phase of levee repair, to close the inlet breaches that allow river water through the levees, is nearly complete.
The second phase of work, which will result in permanent closure and levee repair, is anticipated to continue through the winter, he said.
The third phase, which is an evaluation of the levee system from Sioux City to St. Louis,
is expected to take longer and require additional study, he said.
“We’ve got to get Fish and Wildlife out of river management, or we’ll continue to flood,” said Leo Ettleman.
Ettleman encouraged the Corps to return to the 1979 version of the Master Manual for the Missouri River Basin.
Ettleman said the Fish and Wildlife Service began to be involved in river management with the 2004 version of the manual, which was when problems began.
Phil Peters asked Corps representatives what was going to be done to fix the problem.
“I don’t care about birds and fish,” he said, “and I don’t want you to tell me what happened. I know what happened.” 
“Is this the takings of our land?” Alice Hodde asked Corps representatives. “I think it is, and we need to be compensated.”
Hodde and her husband, Lyle, lost their home and 600 acres of farmland in 2011.
They put the property into a wetlands program and were able to recoup about a third of their losses.
In March, the Hoddes lost their Century Farm again.
“We’re too old to start over,” she said. “What’s the price of a human life?”