Flooding on Easement Lands Within the Red Rock, Iowa, Reservoir
RCED-95-4: Published: Dec 23, 1994. Publicly Released: Dec 23, 1994.
- Full Report:
Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed: (1) whether the property within the Red Rock, Iowa, reservoir's boundary has been inundated beyond the levels permitted by the easements allowing occasional flooding; (2) whether compensation for the easements should be renegotiated with the landowners; and (3) actions taken to implement section 108(b) of Public Law 99-190, which authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to purchase property with easements from those landowners who are willing to sell.
GAO found that: (1) the Red Rock easement documents do not specify a permitted flooding frequency, level, duration, or timing, only that the flooding would be occasional; (2) flooding has occurred on easement lands more frequently than the Corps estimated, and landowners believe that they should receive additional compensation for the easements; (3) Congress must decide whether additional compensation should be provided to the landowners, since the easement documents do not provide for renegotiating easement compensation if the flooding is greater than expected; (4) crop losses have exceeded easement payments by up to $2.3 million; (5) the Corps' long-term flooding estimates may have been too low; (6) too few years have passed since the beginning of the project to judge the validity of the flood-frequency estimates; (7) few landowners have sold their lands to the Corps, since they believe that the Corps' offered purchase prices are too low to allow them to buy comparable farmland; and (8) the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works believes that the Corps should consider leasing the lands back to those owners who are willing to sell.