Missouri River pact to protect, enhance river

Missouri River pact to protect, enhance river
Seven Upper Midwest states and 27 tribes will speak with a single, unified voice on Missouri River issues after seven governors and the president of a tribal water rights coalition signed a resolution forming the Missouri River Association of States and Tribes, or MoRAST.

The states and tribes will represent non-federal game and fish agencies, tribal interests, and water management agencies. The MoRAST's primary goal is to protect and enhance the future of the Missouri River Basin by combining natural resources management, water resources, fish and wildlife, and consideration of the impacts to the economic, historical, cultural, and social resources.

"This is a historic day for the future of the Missouri River," said Gov. Mike Rounds. "Forging a new Missouri River organization that broadens basin-wide decision-making, was no easy task, but I am delighted that in the end, state and tribal interests came together to get it done."

The seven states and tribes within the Missouri River basin to be represented on the MoRAST include South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, and member tribes of the Mni Sose' Intertribal Water Rights Coalition. An eighth state, Missouri, chose not to sign the resolution.

According to the by-laws, a MoRAST Board of Directors will be comprised of up to two people from each participating state and up to six tribal members. The two members from each state will be appointed by the governor. One will represent each state's water management agency, and one will be from the state's fish and wildlife agency.

If a state's water management and fish and wildlife functions both fall within the same agency, that state's governor can appoint another state official. Each of the six tribal representatives on the board must be from a separate tribe, and no more than four may be from the upper basin above Gavins Point Dam.

In the past, the state water management agencies and the Mni Sose' Intertribal Water Rights Coalition belonged to the Missouri River Basin Association (MRBA). Meanwhile, the state game and fish agencies belonged to the Missouri River Natural Resources Committee (MRNRC).

Given the complexity of the issues related to Missouri River water, the two groups recognized the value of forming a new association to combine and streamline state and tribal decision-making. MoRAST creates the framework to allow the state and tribal members to work through these complex issues and come forward with a unified position.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>