People living along the Mouse River in North Dakota have just over a week to make comments to an international group considering changes to the management of the river.
The International Souris River Study Board is reviewing the 1989 agreement between the US and Canada that governs river management.
Jim Olson reports.
In June of 2011, the Mouse River set a record – blasting through Minot at a rate of 27,400 cubic feet per second – five times the 5,000 CFS flow considered the peak for the city’s levee system. That catastrophe set in motion – admittedly slow motion – a plan to take a critical look at how the river is managed.
(Todd Sando, State Engineer – 2012) “If we can move more water through earlier, we can prevent seeing 27,400.”
That was then-State Engineer Todd Sando in 2012, as the members of the International Souris River Board began the process of reviewing the management plan signed between the US and Canada in 1989. Since then, the process has crept along until now, a study board is taking public comment on what people impacted by the river would like to see.
(Shelly Weppler, River Valley Resident) 2645 “We’re looking at not only homes that are impacted but also ag properties and crops and fields, livestock.”
Shelly Weppler lives along the river, and is a relatively new member of the ISRB. She says there are many questions to be answered as the group considers the best way to manage a river that can run dry – and rage like a wild beast – in the course of two years.
(Shelly Weppler, River Valley Resident) 2800 ‘Is it better just to hold the water back or should we let it go at different times? Are the levels stated in the 1989 agreement correct? Should they be different levels? Are we actually operating it in the manner in which we should be?”
The people who have to answer those questions are hoping you’ll take the time to fill out a survey. But don’t expect immediate answers. It’s likely to be several more years before any amendments are made to the operating plan that’s governed river management since 1989. Jim Olson, KX News.
Time to comment is short – you have to file your ideas by September 30th.