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Corps seeks public comment on Draft Surplus Water Reports, Environmental Assessments

Published Aug. 7, 2012

OMAHA, NEB. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, announced the release of five draft surplus water reports and environmental assessments today.

A report has been developed for each of the following mainstem reservoirs: Fort Peck Dam/Fort Peck Lake, Mont.; Oahe Dam/ Lake Oahe, S.D., Big Bend Dam/Lake Sharpe, S.D.; Fort Randall Dam/Lake Francis Case, S.D.; and Gavins Point Dam/Lewis and Clark Lake, S.D. The draft reports identify and quantify surplus water availability at each of the locations.

The Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the Honorable Jo Ellen Darcy, can use this information to execute temporary surplus water agreements for municipal and industrial purposes.

Surplus water agreements are typically in place for five years, with the option for a five-year extension. The National Environmental Policy Act requires the Corps to assess and report the socio-economic and environmental effects of providing surplus water for these temporary municipal and industrial uses.

"These reports follow the recently finalized Surplus Water Report for Garrison Dam/Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota," said Larry Janis, project manager. "With the release of these reports, we have met our December 2010 promi se to produce similar reports at each of the main stem reservoirs."

The public is encouraged to provide comments on the draft report and environmental assessment during the open comment period from Aug. 6 through Sept. 7. Public meetings are scheduled to take place from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for the following dates and locations:

  • Aug. 20 - Nebraska City, Neb.: Lied Lodge and Conference Center, 2700 Sylvan Road.
  • Aug. 21 - St. Joseph, Mo.: Stoney Creek Inn and Conference Center, 1201 North Woodbine Road.
  • Aug. 22 - St. Louis, Mo: Marriott West, 660 Maryville Centre Drive.
  • Aug. 23 - Sioux City, Iowa: Holiday Inn, 701 Gordon Drive.
  • Aug. 27 - Pierre, S.D.: Best Western Ramkota, 920 W. Sioux Avenue.
  • Aug. 28 - Bismarck, N.D.: Best Western Doublewood Inn and Conference Center, 1400 E. Interchange Avenue.
  • Aug. 29 - Glasgow, Mont.: Fort Peck Visitor Center.

The draft surplus water reports propose that surplus water is available in each of the rese rvoirs and quantifies an amount at each.  Each report also recommends that the administrative law rulemaking process be used to establish a fair and equitable pricing methodology. The process is used by executive agencies to promulgate formal rules. If instituted, the process would allow the Corps to develop a pricing model, inform the public about the recommended pricing methodology, allow time for public comment and agency response to the proposal, and provide time for any revisions before a potential formal pricing model is set in place.

Temporarily making surplus water available will allow the Omaha District to enter into surplus water agreements to meet regional water needs until a permanent reallocation study is completed.  Draft EAs attached to each of the reports identify baseline environmental conditions and analyze potential impacts from the proposed use of surplus water.

The meetings held Aug. 20 through Aug. 29 will also be used to begin the scopi ng process for the reallocation study for the Missouri River Mainstem System.  "Public scoping is an important part of the Reallocation Study process," said Gwyn Jarrett, project manager. "Comments received at the meetings will be helpful in shaping the reallocation study."  The reallocation study will evaluate municipal and industrial water storage availability on a long-term or permanent basis via water supply contracts between applicants and the Corps of Engineers.  

The draft Surplus Water Reports and environmental assessments are available for viewing on the Omaha District website and in hardcopy at libraries in:

  • Glasgow, Mont.
  • Bismarck, N.D.
  • Pierre, S.D.
  • Chamberlain, S.D.
  • Pickstown, S.D.
  • Yankton, S.D.

The public may submit comme nts via comment forms available at the public meeting and at libraries where the report is located. Written comments should be sent to

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District CENWO-OD-T
ATTN - Surplus Water Report and EA
1616 Capitol Avenue; Omaha, NE 68102-4901.

Comments can also be emailed to: momainstem-surplus-waterreports@usace.army.mil.

Comments must be postmarked or received no later than Sept. 10, 2012.

Monique Farmer

Release no. 20120807-001