Smelly surprises lurk beneath Missouri River flood

By JOSH FUNK | August 14, 2011 | 9:59 PM EDT

In this Aug. 10, 2011 photo, algae and trash float in a flooded field near Pacific Junction, Iowa. The Missouri River will slowly recede for the next couple of months and landowners are bracing for what’s left behind. They expect to find deep sand, dead fish and lots of junk swept downstream by the highest floodwaters seen in more than 50 years. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When the Missouri River's floodwaters recede this fall, piles of debris, silt and some smelly surprises will be revealed.

It's hard to say exactly what's hiding under the waters, but experts predict this year's epic flood will leave behind a mammoth mess once the water returns to within the Missouri River's banks.

The Army Corps of Engineers' John Remus says he doesn't envy the cleanup crews.

Much of the flooded land in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri this year was farmland, so the mess is certain to include agricultural debris like crop residue and fuel tanks.

Carcasses of small animals swept up by the flood will add to the mess. And the river will leave large piles of sand and woody debris all over the floodplain.