Governor comments on river management plan

Governor comments on river management plan Gov. Mike Rounds has released the following statement regarding the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the operation of the Missouri River dams and reservoirs, which was released Feb. 27.

The Corps also released the Revised Master Water Control Manual and the Draft Final 2004 Annual Operating Plan.

"The Corps obviously listened to our concerns at the Missouri River Summit," said the governor. "I recognize that to solve all of these contentious issues along the Missouri River corridor is an impossible task. However, many of South Dakota's recommendations posed at the summit have been addressed in this new master manual."

"Even though we haven't had the opportunity to read the comprehensive document, my initial conversations with Northwest Division Commander, Brig. Gen. Grisoli, indicate that this is a positive step for the State of South Dakota. I want to thank the Corps for recognizing the need for conservation measures during this extended drought period. The proposed management plan will mean more water in our lakes and reservoirs for rural water systems, agricultural irrigation, fishing, boating access and recreation. By unbalancing the three main upper basin reservoirs, we can be assured that at least one out of three years we will realize a sufficient spawn for game and forage fish.

"The amended biological opinion released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the fact that additional measures needed to be taken to create habitat for the pallid sturgeon. We look forward to working with the Corps and the USFWS to address these habitat needs.

"It appears likely that the master manual changes will be back in Federal court until the endangered species act issues can be resolved."

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