Project Reports

Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment for Ring Thunder Road Section 14 Study in Mellette County, South Dakota Available for Comment

USACE Omaha District
Published July 24, 2023
Expiration date: 8/15/2023

Omaha, Neb.A draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (IFR/EA) has been prepared for the Ring Thunder Road streambank erosion project. Conducted in accordance with Section 14 of the Flood Control Act of 1943, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has studied the erosion issues along the Ring Thunder Road embankment and the Little White River in Mellette County, South Dakota (SD). Three structural alternatives were assessed in addition to the No Action Alternative. This draft EA is consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ, 2022) regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1500-1508), the Corps’ regulations for implementing NEPA (33 CFR 325 and Engineering Regulation 200-2-2) and other applicable environmental laws and regulations. The public is encouraged to provide comments on the draft IFR/EA which is available for viewing at: . Comments can be mailed to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District; CENWO-PMA-A; ATTN: Ring Thunder Road Section 14; 1616 Capitol Avenue; Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments can also be emailed to: Comments must be postmarked or received no later than August 15, 2023. BACKGROUND:The study area is within Mellette County, in the south-central area of SD, approximately 40 miles north of the SD and Nebraska (NE) border. The project area includes approximately 600 feet of Ring Thunder Road south of the intersection of SD Highway 44 and Ring Thunder Road. Ring Thunder Road runs from north to south along the west bank of the Little White River approximately 0.85 miles west of the town of White River, SD. This reach of Ring Thunder Road runs through Rosebud Sioux Tribal trust lands that are outside of the Tribe’s reservation boundary. Mellette County holds a (200-foot wide) easement for the roadway and adjacent lands along the roadway. The bank erosion along Ring Thunder Road started approximately 10 years ago and has gradually increased over time. Once the erosion started to create a dangerous transportation route, the town of White River reached out to USACE for assistance. In between USACE receiving approval to conduct a Section 14 Study, a temporary emergency repair project was funded by SDDOT. This emergency repair helped to temporarily address the issue while the county pursued the Section 14 project and considered other options. Ring Thunder Road serves as one of the main access routes for county residents that live southwest of White River, SD. The road is a primary route for delivery of cattle to market, emergency response, mail service, and local school route. Ranches serviced by Ring Thunder Road are home to over 25,000 head of cattle. A detour for this road closure would be up to 40 miles.