Johnson urges update of river master manual

Johnson urges update of river master manual U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) called for swift action on completing the update of the Missouri River Master Manual during remarks on the Senate floor July 27.

"After more than 40 years, the time has come for the management of the Missouri River to reflect the current economic realities of an $80 million annual recreation impact upstream, versus a $7 million annual navigation impact downstream. After 40 years, the management of the Missouri River is in serious need of an update to reflect how the use of the river has changed," Johnson said.

"I was among the first to call for a revision of the Master Manual because I firmly believe that, over the years, we in the Upper Basin states have lived with the unfortunate lack of parity under the current management practices on the Missouri River," Johnson said. "We continue to suffer from an upstream versus downstream conflict of interest on Missouri River uses. Traditionally, navigation has been emphasized on the river to the detriment of river ecosystems and recreational uses."

Johnson said the Missouri River Master Manual is the plan the Corps of Engineers uses to direct how the water in the mainstem dams is stored and released on the upper Missouri River. The plan affects water levels and flow rates that in turn affect recreational use, shoreline wildlife habitat, agriculture, flood control, power generation and barge traffic on the downstream part of the Missouri River.

Johnson said senators from downstream states, particularly Missouri, recently blocked efforts to adopted changes in the Missouri River Plan.

"Those of us from the states in the Upper Basin are determined to work aggressively for the interests of our region. For decades, our states have made many significant sacrifices which have benefitted people living further south along the Missouri River. Now is the time to finally bring an outdated and unfair management plan for the Missouri River up to date with modern economic realities."

South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow has written Senator Pete Domenici, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Senator Harry Reid, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, expressing his opposition to the efforts by Senators John Ashcroft (R-MO) and Christopher Bond (R-MO) to block changes in the Missouri River Master Plan.

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