How “reasonably safe” is Branson Landing, downtown Branson and the surrounding community from flooding?

Let’s go with the good news first, the city of Branson got a clean bill of health on its handling of the Branson Landing flood plain issues from FEMA. Among other things FEMA said that Buildings 1 through 6 in Branson Landing “are reasonably safe from flooding.”

What then could the bad news be? Those are the building on the west side of Branson Landing. In fact there was some flooding to the lower levels of the building on the east side during the Spring 2008 Floods. It was the type of flooding that was anticipated when the Landing was built and it was basically handled as anticipated.

“Well, that’s not bad news that’s good news.” Absolutely, but the thing to keep in mind is that in terms of the water that could be released from Table Rock Dam’s 10 gates, only the equivalent of less than one of its ten gates was released during the 2008 Spring Floods. There is a capability of releasing 515,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs) with all 10 gates and four generators. During the 2008 event less than 50,000 cfs was released yet, it flooded homes and the lower levels of the eastern side of Branson Landing.

Here we are two years and a “FEMA Scrutiny later” with buildings that “are reasonably safe from flooding” at Branson Landing, but a downtown Branson area and areas in the surrounding community that have no such assurances. What is “reasonably safe?”

Who really knows? One thing that could be done however, is have maps of Branson Landing, down town Branson including the Convention Center and the areas along Lake Taneycomo and its tributaries that clearly and simply show the areas that would be covered by water released from the dam at 50k cfs, 100k cfs, 150k cfs, 200k cfs, 250k cfs, 300k cfs, 350k cfs, 400k cfs 450k cfs, 500k cfs levels.

Will the water ever get that high? Who knows. Until April of 2008 the water had never been as high as it got since the dam was built, but it got there. There is a reason there are 10 gates and eight auxiliary gates at the dam. It would be interesting to see just how high the water would be in Branson Landing and other areas with a 300,000 cfs release.

Oh, and speaking of interesting, does anyone know what formal action the Branson Board of Aldermen, Hollister Board of Aldermen or Taney County Commission have taken to look into what, if anything, they can do to mitigate the consequences of future flooding like the 2008 event? Were an Ole Seagull a betting bird he would say that the answer would be pretty close to zero.

On the other hand, why be proactive when most people will settle for reactive? In the unlikely event of another flood like 2008, or worse, they’ll give us the same platitudes they did in 2008 and we’ll soon forget until the next time.

However, it would be interesting to know just how high the water would get in Branson Landing, Hollister, downtown Branson and other areas along Lake Taneycomo if 300,000 cfs were released from Table Rock Dam. On second thought, do we really want to know? Isn’t ignorance bliss?

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