La Vista, NE --
The Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) met here Aug. 8-11 to receive updates on the Missouri River Recovery Program’s (MRRP) draft Management Plan-Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). The plan is part of ongoing efforts to support recovery of three species in the Missouri River – the Least Tern, Piping Plover, and Pallid Sturgeon – in accordance with the Endangered Species Act.
Tribes attending the meeting included the Crow Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Osage Nation, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe and Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
Brig. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, Commander, Northwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Noreen Walsh, Regional Director, Mountain-Prairie Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, discussed the Corps’ tentative preferred alternative. Members of the public and tribes will have the opportunity to provide comments to the Corps on the draft EIS after its release in December 2016. The Corps will also be holding a series of public meetings in January and February 2017.
In addition to public meetings, the Corps and FWS will hold government-to-government consultation with Tribal leaders beginning in January 2017. Catherine J. Warren, Native American Consultation Specialist with the Corps, discussed the process with MRRIC members. “The Tribes feel it is very important for MRRIC, as a whole, to understand the process, to include the history and laws that make up this responsibility,” Warren said.
MRRIC also gave tentative approval to a strategy that describes the Committee’s role in governance in the Adaptive Management Plan. This plan will guide actions, and decision making processes after completion of a final EIS. The Committee gave final approval to several recommendations. One identified MRRIC’s priorities for the Corps 2017 work plan, while another requested travel funding for member’s participation on the Committee.
MRRIC is a 70-member committee that comprises stakeholders and representatives of Tribal, state and federal governments throughout the Missouri River Basin. This committee provides recommendations to federal agencies on the current and future activities of the MRRP. The Committee makes its substantive recommendations by consensus.
The committee, established in fall 2008, meets quarterly at various locations throughout the Missouri River Basin. It will begin the upcoming meeting having approved 20 substantive recommendations addressed to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, who is responsible for endangered species protection and recovery, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who operates the bank stabilization and navigation project and the main stem dams on the Missouri River. The committee’s next quarterly meeting will be held November 15-17 in Omaha.
MRRIC is staffed by RESOLVE, a Washington, D.C. dispute resolution firm (www.resolv.org), under a contract with the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution and with the assistance of federal agency staff.
Release no. 22-005