- The Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) met in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, May 23-25. MRRIC members visited the Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery and Gavins Point Dam, in Yankton, South Dakota, where they learned about efforts to supplement the population of the endangered pallid sturgeon and about flood risk management efforts and hydropower operations at the dam. They also toured an 18-mile stretch of the Missouri River by boat to see firsthand the recovery efforts for the Least Tern and Piping Plover.
Committee members discussed the findings of an Independent External Peer Review panel regarding its review of the Missouri River Recovery Program’s (MRRP) draft Missouri River Recovery Management Plan (MRRMP) Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that was released in December by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).
An accompanying draft Adaptive Management (AM) Plan serves as the framework for implementing potential actions described in the EIS. MRRIC discussed its more active engagement in governance of the AM program in the future and approved a restructuring of its work groups to implement the new approach.
Members also shared the highlights of their comments on the DEIS and AM Plan with one another and with Major General Spellmon, Northwest Division Commander for the Corps. The Committee charged a new work group to develop possible consensus recommendations concerning the MRRMP for MRRIC consideration at its August meeting.
MRRIC and the Tribal members welcomed Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Kip Spotted Eagle, newly-appointed member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Other Tribes were represented by Dr. Andrea Hunter, Osage Nation; Dr. Kelly Morgan, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; Alan Kelley, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska; and Shannon Wright, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
MRRIC is a 70-member committee that comprises stakeholders and representatives of Tribal, state and federal governments throughout the Missouri River Basin. The committee provides recommendations to federal agencies on the current and future activities of the MRRP. MRRIC was authorized by Congress in the 2007 Water Resources Development Act and was established in 2008 by the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works). Its duties include providing recommendations to the Secretary of the Army and other Federal agencies on efforts to recover Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed species (the pallid sturgeon, least tern, and piping plover), mitigate habitat loss, and restore the ecosystem to protect other native species. The committee makes its substantive recommendations by consensus.
The committee meets quarterly at different locations throughout the Missouri River Basin. The next MRRIC meeting will be Aug. 8-10, 2017, in Omaha. For more information on MRRIC, please contact the committee chair at MRRIC@usace.army.mil
. Additional information on Missouri River recovery efforts is available online at www.mrric.org