Dalrymple asks Assistant Secretary of Army for Civil Works to reverse Corps decision against lowering lake levels

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Governor Dalrymple’s office has asked Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, to reverse the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision against lowering Lake Sakakawea for additional water storage capacity.

Governor Dalrymple has asked the Corps to lower Lake Sakakawea 2.5 feet to provide more storage capacity and additional flood protection during the Corps’ 2011-2012 operating season. Gen. John McMahon, the Corps’ northwestern division commander, notified the North Dakota State Water Commission on Monday, that the Corps has denied the state’s request to lower the lake’s level.

The Governor’s Office s asked Darcy to review the state’s request for additional storage capacity and reverse the Corps’ decision to deny the state’s request. During a public meeting held in Bismarck on Tuesday, Nov. 1, Dalrymple told Corps officials that they must consider flood protection above all else in managing the Missouri River system.

“Taking into account current conditions and the National Weather Service’s long-term weather outlook, the Corps should evacuate additional storage this fall to allow greater flexibility in the operation of the reservoir,” Dalrymple said. “Missouri River states need to have more input into the river system’s management and I urge the Corps to take a good, hard look at how it develops its annual operating plan.”

The Governor’s Office also pressed Darcy to abandon a Corps proposal that calls for charging North Dakotans a fee for water taken from the Missouri River. Until a decision is made, the Corps should stop blocking access for water usage, Dalrymple said. The Governor and North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem have asked for a meeting with the Corps’ legal counsel to discuss the legal issues surrounding the Corps’ prohibition against access to the Missouri River. Darcy said she would work to arrange the meeting.

Source: Office of Governor Dalrymple

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