HARTFORD - The St. Louis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started hosting a series of flood preparedness workshops this week for levee districts and emergency management agencies with area officials in attendance.

Officials with Metro East Sanitary District and Wood River Drainage and Levee District attended training at the National Great Rivers Museum in Alton on Thursday. Each year the St. Louis District conducts the workshops in the communities that cover the districts 28,000-square mile area of responsibility.

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Stephen Adler, executive director of MESD, said although emergency preparedness and response is primarily a state and local responsibility the Corps of Engineers is authorized to assist communities in pre-flood preparedness, during-flood and post-flood response.

“The flood preparedness workshops allow us to discuss concerns and issues before the spring flooding begins,” Adler said.

Adler said information presented to those who attended included contact information for Corps officials, websites where documents and other materials including levee repairs, maintenance activities and vegetation removal.

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Flooding is the most common, costly and deadly natural disaster in the United States each year. One of the Corps of Engineers' main missions is providing assistance when natural disasters or other emergencies strike.

The workshops are designed for the National Weather Service to give the spring outlook and to have the Local and/or County Emergency Management Agency, State Emergency Management Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the St. Louis District discuss their roles in flood fight response and recovery efforts. The workshops also provide an opportunity for levee owners and the public to talk with the Corps and its partner agencies about any levee operation and maintenance problems and overall flood preparedness.

Adler said the workshops are an important part of the shared responsibility to reduce flood risk to the public.

The St. Louis District is responsible for 300 miles of the Mississippi River, five Locks and Dams and five flood control reservoirs.

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler stressed the importance of ongoing collaboration between local, state and federal partners.

“Communication between everyone helps to prepare, respond and recover from floods,” Prenzler said.

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