The Army Corps of Engineers will hold a press conference later this (Friday) morning to announce the release of its final Environmental Impact Statement for the operation of the Missouri River dams and reservoirs. The corps has been working on a new master manual on operations of the Missouri River for a dozen years now, and the long wait is about over. General William Grisoli, commander of the northwest division of the Corps, calls it a balancing act. Grisoli says the aim’s to conserve more water “up front” when drought threatens so levels wouldn’t be so badly reduced in case of low rainfalls, and they must balance all the uses of the river. The Fish and Wildlife Agency has issued its opinion of how river operations affect wildlife on the river. Grisoli says they will take that into consideration. He says his agency’s now in collaboration with Fish and Wildlife to find out how to meet their requirements to protect the endangered fish, like the pallid sturgeon. March 1st is the target date to release the long-awaited Master Manual for how humans will control the river’s flow. Grisoli says the manual release isn’t the only important document coming out. He says it’ll be a draft, and so will the operating plan, and an environmental impact plan will be released. Approval of that impact statement must come before the final versions can be confirmed of the plans for the river’s operation this year and in the long term.
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