August 21, 2009

Federal agencies bring traveling show to Fort Berthold

Federal agencies bring traveling show to Fort Berthold
A number of scoping meetings to decide the fate of the Missouri River for the next 30 to 50 years, took the forefront in the Northern Lights Community Center Monday in New Town.
A host of agencies including the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation, were on hand to answer questions in a round-robin type of forum that was hosted from 3-5 p.m. and again from 6-8 p.m.
Titled the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan, it will help define the future of the longest river in the United States. It will include a four-stage process that is expected to take the next seven years before implementation is expected to begin in 2016.
The roadmap to implementing the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan is to initiate the planning, study the effected environment, consider the alternatives and finally, select the plan.
“It’s unique to travel the basin and get this perspective,” said Randy Sellers, one of the lead members of the project. “This is a planning process and we’ll set our goals and objectives.”
The group began their tour at Fort Peck, Mont., came to New Town, then were on to Bismarck and Pierre, S.D. They are expected to end their tour somewhere around St. Louis.
“The vision of the public is important to shaping this project,” Sellers said. “We’ve had several ongoing projects for years including projects to protect endangered species. What we haven’t had is a comprehensive look at this river.”
The scoping meetings are designed to ask for input and gain knowledge from the public. He said opinions are important when you consider this project takes in six states, two provinces and includes 28 Indian tribes.

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