Gov. Rounds pleased with biological assessment

Gov. Rounds pleased with biological assessment Gov. Mike Rounds said Nov. 17 that he is pleased the Army Corps of Engineers is moving ahead in developing a new master manual by releasing a biological assessment of proposed flow changes and physical alterations for the Missouri River's navigation channel and system reservoirs.

The biological assessment takes steps in the right direction by including conservation measures that will save more water during times of drought than the current water control plan.

"Hopefully, this will mean that we will have more water in our reservoirs at critical times for recreation and fisheries management and that the flows will create suitable habitat for species," said Rounds on the announcement. "We certainly understand the sensitivity connected with the endangered species aspects of the biological assessment, and we encourage the Corps and the U.S. Fish Contact and Wildlife Service to continue to seek the best science available to address news items should be the proper master manual revisions."

The biological assessment is one of the first steps in developing a new Army Corps of Engineers Master Manual that is mandated to be completed by March 1, 2004.

"We are pleased to see the process moving ahead and we appreciate the effort of Brigadier General Grisoli and the Corp of Engineers," said Rounds. "South Dakota remains committed to working with the other Missouri River basin states and the federal agencies to find a solution to these difficult issues.

One of the action plans that came out of the Missouri River Summit last September was to have all the basin state's technical experts work together to come up with an agreeable flow plan. The biological assessment and additional information are available under the "Hot Topics" section of the corp's Web site at www.usace.army.mil.

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