OMAHA, NE- The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are hosting public meetings on June 22 and June 23.
The meetings are to share and discuss the May 6, 2015 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between the Secretaries of the Department of the Army (Army) and Department of the Interior (Interior).
The MOA sets forth the process for transferring administrative jurisdiction over certain Garrison Project lands no longer needed for the construction, maintenance and operation of the project, to be held in trust for the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation). The MOA was authorized by Public Law 98-602, the Fort Berthold Mineral Restoration Act (FBMRA).
The meetings are as scheduled:
Wednesday, June 22, 5 p.m.—Bismarck, North Dakota Heritage Center Russell Reid Auditorium, 612 East Boulevard Ave.
Thursday, June 23, 5 p.m.—New Town, 4 Bears Casino & Lodge Ballroom, 202 Frontage Rd.
The public may visit one-on-one with agency officials at each location from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to learn about the decision, hear about the proposed implementation and ask questions. Public comment cards will be available.
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. a formal presentation takes place on the MOA, Final Effects Report and proposed implementation. Both Corps and BIA officials will be available to answer questions afterwards.
The MOA was executed in May 2015 although funds to implement it were not available at that time. Funding was received by the Corps in April 2016.
The MOA itself, does not transfer jurisdiction over the lands. It simply describes the process. The MOA provides that the current land use will continue unchanged after the transfer; that public access will be granted, and prohibits residential development, mineral harvesting or other activities that could threaten the operation of the Garrison Project. The Corps will retain management of Recreation and Wildlife Management lands.
The Corps will also discuss the Effects Report. It provides all the information gathered during the process and includes the justification for the final determination. After consideration of public comments, the Corps has confirmed that lands classified as vegetative management will be transferred.
A copy of the MOA signed by Army and Interior is available on the web at
. The Effects Report will be made available on the website, prior to the public meeting.