Governor Hutchinson issues executive order to create levee task force

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Governor Hutchinson has created a task force to study the levee system after the historic flooding. 

Several levees were impacted, as a result, including the breach of the Holla Bend Levee in Yell County.

Governor Hutchinson today issued Executive Order 19-10 to create the Arkansas Levee Task Force to study and analyze the current conditions of the state’s levees. 

Members of the Task Force will also identify sources and requirements for funding the construction, repair, and maintenance of the levees; study prospective monitoring and reporting systems for maintenance of the levees; and review adequacy of current laws and organizational structure of the levee system and levee district boards.

In addition, the Governor announced he will be requesting legislative approval for $10 million to be made available through the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, in consultation with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, for immediate levee repair.

“The Flood of 2019 revealed the many weaknesses in our state’s system of levees and points to the urgent need to formulate a plan to coordinate inspection and maintenance in cooperation with the Corps of Engineers and the local levee boards,” said Governor Hutchinson. “We can’t postpone this planning until another historic flood puts us to a test. The Arkansans who live and work along our waterways depend on our leaders to secure their safety as much as humanly possible by ensuring we incorporate the best practices and technology to fortify our levees.”

The Task Force shall provide a report of its findings and make recommendations to the Governor for improved monitoring and maintenance of the state’s levee system by December 31, 2019. 

Members of the Task Force are as follows:

            Jami Cook – Chair
              Secretary, Department of Public Safety 

            Tommy Land
              Arkansas Land Commissioner

            Wes Ward
              Secretary, Department of Agriculture

            Larry Walther
              Secretary, Department of Finance and Administration

            Bruce Holland
              Director, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission

       •     A.J. Gary
              Director, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

            Deidre Smith
              Director, Arkansas Waterways Commission

       •     Shelby Johnson
              Director, Geographic Information Office

The Task Force will also include at least one county judge, one county clerk, and one municipal elected official. Additional citizens, including legislators, with knowledge of the engineering, construction, funding, or oversight of levees, as well as citizens representing flood-impacted areas, shall be added, as the Governor deems necessary.

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