A coalition of representatives from Iowa and six other states that form the Missouri River basin is working to find concensus on river-related issues. The Missouri River Association of States and Tribes, or MoRAST, is zeroing in on a wide-reaching study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. David Pope, executive director of MoRAST, says they’re trying to cooperate with the corps’ objectives.
“MoRAST is trying to provide leadership and input to the Corps of Engineers and certainly provide an open forum for discussion of the interest from our state and tribal members,” Pope says. “We were able to have quite a bit of dialogue about that and we’re close to finalizing some recommendations that we’ll be submitting to the corps.” The full title is the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study and it should be launching in the next several months. Pope says members of MoRAST continue to refine their interests in the study.
Pope says, “It’s really quite a big effort, first time in 60-some years that the corps has really been asked to look at the program that is the framework of water resources development that we’ve been working with for all these years.” Pope says despite higher water in the Missouri River system this year due to heavy snow this past winter, the group is trying to focus on long-term issues in the basin.
“They’ve come together on the idea that it’s good to look at this system,” Pope says. “Who knows what will happen in terms of whether the group will have total agreement or not in regard to what the future should look like. At least they’re interested in the study.” MoRAST includes representatives from: Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. The quarterly meeting of MoRAST was held last week in Nebraska City, Nebraska.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton