Public input wanted on Missouri River study

A massive study of Missouri River ecosystems is being planned by the U-S Army Corps of Engineers and the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. Corps spokesman Paul Johnston says the study will be comprehensive in both size and area.

Johnston says, “It’s looking at environmental restoration the full length of the Missouri River and most of the major tributaries, so obviously, that is a big effort.” He says the agencies are looking for public input as the project is almost ready to get underway. People who attend the meetings will be able to learn more about the timeline, the processes and goals of the study.

“We’re having a series of scoping meetings to get people who are interested in the river to make sure their concerns and interests get factored in,” Johnston says. The first public meeting will be held next Monday in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with many more meetings in several states all along the waterway, ending in St. Charles, Missouri, in September. The list includes a hearing in Omaha/Council Bluffs on August 31st.

Johnston says the study will be far-reaching: “It will probably include studies on the Yellowstone, the Platte in Nebraska, the Kansas River, some of the major tributaries and some of the smaller tributaries.”

Johnston says the study will take many months to complete. He notes there’s an appropriate old joke that goes: How do you eat an elepant? The answer is: One bite at a time. “We’re trying to figure out an approximate size of the elephant so we can start the one bite at a time,” he says.

The results of the study, Johnston says, will be a fully-integrated plan for the Missouri River and an environmental impact statement.

Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton

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