OMAHA, Neb.—U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division Commander Brig. Gen. D. Peter Helmlinger signed a ‘Record of Decision’ for the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement Tuesday.
The plan outlines future recovery program activities along the river that will allow the Corps to continuing to operate its Missouri River projects for all their authorized purposes while complying with the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws.
“Getting to this point reflects the tremendous efforts of a great team of partners and stakeholders who truly care about the future of the Missouri River,” said Helmlinger. “The amount of coordination required for something that involves such a cross-section of federal, state, local and tribal organizations can’t be understated.”
The Corps developed the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and with unprecedented engagement with the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee, which includes members representing basin Tribal governments, states and stakeholders. The document signed Tuesday is the Record of Decision for the Final MRRMP-EIS dated Aug. 2018.
The MRRMP-EIS is a programmatic assessment of major federal actions necessary to avoid a finding of jeopardy for the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), interior least tern (Sterna antillarum), and the Northern Great Plains piping plover (Charadrius melodus) caused by operation of the Missouri and Kansas River reservoir systems and operation and maintenance of the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project.
Cooperating agencies in the MRRMP-EIS included the USFWS, National Park Service, Western Area Power Administration, Bureau of Reclamation, and States of Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
The selected alternative in the EIS is part of the proposed action in the USACE Final Biological Assessment, which received a no jeopardy Biological Opinion from the USFWS in Apr. 2018. The selected alternative allows USACE to continue to operate its Missouri River projects for all authorized purposes while complying with all applicable laws, regulations, and treaty and trust responsibilities, and provides for a structured, scientific process to monitor, evaluate, and adjust actions through Adaptive Management, which includes collaborative engagement with the MRRIC.
The Record of Decision is available online at: https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/mrrp/mgmt-plan/ in the “Final Documents” section.