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Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee continues work on strategic plan

Published May 24, 2018
Members of the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee sitting around a large table.

The Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee holds its 41st meeting.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee held its 41st meeting here May 22-24.

At this meeting, MRRIC discussed and reached initial consensus on recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, regarding the Missouri River Recovery Program draft strategic plan.   The recommendations address a range of issues including actions for the three threatened and endangered species, suggestions for best scientific and adaptive management practices, and support for communication and collaboration. The recommendations were developed initially by MRRIC’s Bird, Fish and Human Considerations work groups.   The MRRIC Charter requires MRRIC to reach consensus at two meetings before sending recommendations to the agencies.

“MRRIC and the lead agencies have accomplished a great deal in the short time since a new adaptive management approach for the MRRP was launched at a fall science meeting in November 2017,” said MRRIC Chair Gail Bingham.   “This has been a collaborative, science-based process with a healthy give and take about the implications of new scientific information, stakeholder interests, and perspectives from the Corps and Fish and Wildlife Service on the recommendations.”

The USFWS released its Biological Opinion on the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan-Environmental Impact Statement in April 2018.   MRRIC was able to ask questions about the BiOp at this meeting and learn more about how the agencies incorporated recommendations from the Independent Science Advisory Panel.  The committee also received a presentation from the National Park Service on its plans to exclude a portion of two reaches of the river from mechanical habitat creation and vegetation management under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Also at this meeting, USFWS announced that its Missouri River Coordinator’s Office in Yankton, South Dakota, was the recipient of an internal grant called the "State of the Birds Grant" valued at nearly $50,000 to develop one or more pilot piping plover habitat projects.  Recently, USFWS headquarters in Washington, D.C., provided additional funding bringing the total grant to $200,000.

MRRIC is a 70-member committee that comprises stakeholders and representatives of tribal, state, and federal governments throughout the Missouri River Basin.  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).  It provides recommendations to the Corps and other Federal agencies and serves as a basin-wide collaborative forum for developing a shared vision and plan for the MRRP.  The committee makes decisions by consensus.

The next MRRIC meeting will be held Nov. 27-29, 2018, in Kansas City, Missouri.   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 and www.moriverrecovery.org.

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Release no. 18-041