Dakota Dunes After the Flood

Workers tear down the south levee along Pebble Beach Drive in Dakota Dunes on Sept. 21, 2011. The work was part of recovery efforts after the summer's historic Missouri River flood.

Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal file

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SIOUX CITY | High-water marks remain on trees and poles next to the Missouri River. Sand deposited by record amounts of water still is found up and down the river's shores through Siouxland.

But cities and owners of homes, businesses, farms and other property along the river are well into the process of moving on from the great Missouri River flood of 2011, if they haven't already.

It should be no surprise to a region filled with resilient people whose older relatives had withstood flooding, tornadoes and other weather-related disasters for years.

By now, the story of the flood is well-known. Record-breaking snowmelt and rainfall in the upper Missouri River basin overwhelmed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' system of dams and reservoirs on the river in the spring of 2011.

The corps released record levels of water from those reservoirs to keep up with the runoff, resulting in flooding up and down the river.

At Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, S.D., releases reached a record high of 160,000 cubic feet per second, and the river level at Sioux City peaked at 35.25 feet, well above the flood stage of 30 feet.

As flooding increased, hundreds of volunteers filled sandbags, helped people whose homes were threatened by rising waters move belongings from their home and donated clothing and household items, sometimes even housing, to those displaced by the flood.

It was no different after the waters began to recede that fall. Volunteers helped tear down levees and sandbag walls. They helped clean flood-damaged parks and neighborhoods.

Municipalities learned several valuable lessons. Levees have been strengthened. Utilities and other public works are better protected. Homeowners have rebuilt.

The river isn't going away, and neither is the spirit of recovery in Siouxland.

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