Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senators Johnson and Thune today announced that the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, a comprehensive water resources bill which includes several provisions that will be particularly beneficial to South Dakota. The bill passed the Senate 91 to 4.

"I have worked on this bill for many years and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Water and Power, I am glad to see the Water Resources Development Act considered and passed by the Senate," Johnson said. "The water management initiatives in the bill will do a great deal to improve the ecology of the Missouri River in South Dakota. It will also strengthen public investment in managing and protecting significant programs that the state and federal government rely on to enhance the river."

"Since before the days of Lewis and Clark to the present, the Missouri River is one of South Dakota's greatest natural resources," Thune said. "I am pleased that this legislation includes each of the provisions I advocated last Congress as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Without a doubt, this legislation will help our state harness, protect and improve the Missouri River for future generations."

The provisions that affect South Dakota directly include:

Reauthorization of the Missouri River Restoration Act-authorizes the Missouri River Restoration Act to address the sedimentation of the Missouri River main-stem dams. The WRDA bill extends the authorization through 2010, and the Missouri River Restoration Act is envisioned as a strategy to tackle sedimentation of the main-stem reservoirs.

Upper Basin Missouri River Authorization-amends the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project (BSNP) which authorized a mitigation program in the states of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri. It expands the authority of the BSNP to the Upper Basin states of South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana and allows the Corps of Engineers to carry out recovery projects in the Upper Basin. It also provides for a series of habitat restoration projects to recover valuable fish and wildlife habitat destroyed by previous river management.

Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC)-establishes the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee to create a federal-state partnership for the long-term recovery of threatened and endangered species in the Missouri River basin. This entity will coordinate federal and state action to spend upward of $3 billion over the next twenty years to ensure that management of the Missouri River does not result in the extinction of three federally-listed species.

The House of Representatives passed their version of the Water Resources Development Act (H.R. 2864) on April 19, 2007 and the two bills will now be reconciled in House-Senate Conference negotiations.