The truth is Clinton era decisions to return the river to a more wild state set the stage for the current catastrophic flooding.
But in the article, “The Purposeful Flooding of America's Heartland,” in American Thinker, Joe Herring makes a very strong, well documented case, that the system of dams built in the area to tame the Missouri River and prevent this sort of thing from happening was well conceived and executed: “Some sixty years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began the process of taming the Missouri by constructing a series of six dams. The idea was simple: massive dams at the top moderating flow to the smaller dams below, generating electricity while providing desperately needed control of the river’s devastating floods.”
But in the 1990s the plan was hijacked by radical environmentalists with a different agenda: “The Clinton administration threw its support behind the change, officially shifting the priorities of the Missouri River dam system from flood control, facilitation of commercial traffic, and recreation to habitat restoration, wetlands preservation, and culturally sensitive and sustainable biodiversity.”
Herring cites Greg Pavelka, a wildlife biologist with the Corps of Engineers in Yankton, SD, who told the Seattle Times that “this event will leave the river in a ‘much more natural state than it has seen in decades,’ describing the epic flooding as a ‘prolonged headache for small towns and farmers along its path, but a boon for endangered species.’”