Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

October 3, 2013

Shutdown closes Red Rock offices

By Steve Woodhouse Editor
The Journal Express

---- — The partial shutdown of the federal government has left the Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Red Rock down to a skeleton crew, with employees working to oversee the dam and levies and protect Corps property.

Congress failed to pass a spending bill to keep all functions of the federal government operational as of midnight Oct. 1, the beginning of the federal fiscal year. Republicans in the House sent four such bills to avoid a shutdown to the Senate, all of which did not include funding for the “Affordable Care Act.” The Democrat-controlled Senate rejected all of these bills, and without the compromise, there was no federal spending bill to keep “non-essential” functions operational.

“Non-essential” functions at Lake Red Rock include the many outdoor programs and camping opportunities. Campers were directed to be out of Corps-operated grounds on Wednesday. Josh Conrad, Assistant Operations Manager at Lake Red Rock, said most were referred to campgrounds at the lake controlled by Marion County Conservation or the State. No new campers were being accepted at the Corps’ campgrounds until the shutdown is resolved.

“We extend our apologies to the general public,” Conrad said. There is just no funding available for these projects without the appropriation from Congress.

Conrad said when Congress does reach an agreement, action will flow through the chain of command and down to the Corps at the Lake to reopen these non-essential functions. He hopes the appropriation comes through soon.

This is the first partial government shutdown since 1996. There have been numerous shutdowns in the past 35 years.