Ten public meetings were held over the past six weeks to get public input in developing the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration plan and environmental impact statement.
Paul Johnston, spokesman for the U-S Army Corps of Engineers, says the public meetings were the first of many steps in a very large project. “The team moved up and down the river,” Johnston says. “The idea was to get a very, very clear idea of what is important to people and then use that to shape the scope of this study.”
It’s a huge study, encompassing 2,000 miles of river in seven states. Johnston says restoring the river’s ecosystem will be a long-term process. “It took many years to get the Missouri River in the condition it’s in today,” Johnston says, “and it’s going to take many years to change it so the economic input remains the same and at the same time, enhance the environmental quality. We’ve got a long way to go yet.”
Johnston says this series of public meetings that’s just concluded likely won’t be the last ones held on the project. He says, “We’ll take all the notes and start trying to develop a scope and we’ll bounce that off of the various stakeholders and I suspect after we get done with that, we’ll probably hold another round of meetings to say, okay folks, this is how we think we’re gonna’ progress.”
This project, sponsored by the Corps and the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service, is one of several ongoing restoration projects on the Missouri.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton