A river summit held yesterday near Sioux City is likely to be repeated. Top officials including Iowa’s governor Tom Vilsack agree they didn’t reach any big solutions at this week’s meeting over control of the Missouri River. He says the process will have “as many twists and turns as the Missouri itself” before it’s done. States along the river are suffering from the effects of a multi-year drought that’s sharpened their differences over the control of the river’s flow. Upriver, higher water in lakes behind the Missouri dams is crucial to the fishing and recreation industry but in Iowa and southward, barge traffic and power plants demand higher water to keep operating. Vilsack says they’re a long way from consensus on any one plan, but agreed on a process to analyze a plan. South Dakota governor Mike Rounds, who planned and hosted the summit near Sioux City, agrees that it didn’t settle the issue of river management. Rounds said a preliminary proposal was put on the table and reviewed, but with “clearly no consensus” they only agree they’ll meet again and a technical committee’s been established. A panel of technical experts will meet in Nebraska to fine tune a recommendation, and the governors will meet again before the end of the year to see if they can agree on submitting it to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the consensus opinion on managing the river.
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