Iowa is beginning to take a more active role in shaping the future of the waterway that forms the state’s western boundary, according to the spokesman for an inter-agency group. Bernie Hoyer, with the Missouri River Authority of the Iowa D.N.R., says several departments within state government are working on a plan for the river and how Iowa can make best use of it.

He says a participant from the Iowa D.O.T. created an outline for the state to develop an “Iowa vision” for the Missouri River, a plan that’s now being revised. Talks are being scheduled with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers to see how to partner with them on getting the plan implemented. Hoyer says members of the panel recognize how critical Iowa’s role can be for the entire Missouri River basin.

“For the most part, it’s been North Dakota, South Dakota talking on their positions and Missouri talking on its position,” Hoyer says. “Iowa’s sort of in between there and we have our own unique issues and we’ve never articulated those particularly well. We’ve never really looked at, comprehensively, what our benefits are, what we want.” He says the Iowa agencies have never before taken the time to try and work together to create a vision for the river. Hoyer says they believe they can fit their planning within larger studies being conducted by the Corps of Engineers.

He says a timeframe was set to complete the Iowa plan in two years, while the Missouri River Authorized Purposes study has a five-year timeframe. Hoyer says he believes Iowans can benefit from what he calls “one of the great rivers in the world.”

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton