Missouri River Restoration and Recovery


This website constitutes an historical record of the MRRIC Charter Planning Group Process, which ended July 2008. For current information about the MRRIC stakeholder process, including how to apply for membership on the Committee, please go to http://www.mrric.org.

WRDA 2007
Section 5018
Implications of Proposed Recommended Charter Language on Federal Agency Participation on the MRRIC

The WRDA 2007 language (Section 5018, attached) regarding establishment of the MRRIC states that the Secretary (of the Army) shall establish a committee and that membership shall include representatives from federal agencies.

Numerous federal agencies have programs affecting the Missouri River. These agencies have management responsibilities, jurisdiction by law, regulatory authorities, technical expertise, and/or resource management responsibilities affecting the river. These authorities and responsibilities have been assigned by Congress and cannot be delegated or abrogated. (Examples provided by the National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Western Area Power Administration are attached.)

In addition, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), all federal agencies are directed, among other things, to utilize their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of the ESA by carrying out programs for the conservation of listed species and to insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by each agency is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or adversely modify critical habitat.

The current WRDA language assigns the MRRIC the duties of coordinating the development of consistent policies, programs, projects, activities, and priorities for the mitigation, recovery, and restoration of the Missouri River. Without the participation of all federal agencies with programs that affect the river in the MRRIC it may be difficult to provide this coordination and would add extra steps and time to the MRRIC process. This is also true of the duty of coordination of the science and research needs of the mitigation, recovery, and restoration effort. Without the involvement of all agencies occupied in scientific study and research of the Missouri River environment, coordination of the science and research activities may prove impossible.

WRDA also tasks the MRRIC to resolve "conflicts between entities represented on the Committee". This duty acknowledges the differing and sometimes seemingly conflicting missions of the federal agencies. Without the participation in the MRRIC of all agencies with programs that affect the Missouri River, resolving conflicts may not be achievable. The MRRIC may not be able to bring the required agencies into a discussion if not all of the agencies involved are members of the MRRIC. Further, the early involvement of all federal agencies could preclude conflict by allowing those agencies with concerns to voice them and have their issues addressed prior to the development of a recommendation.

Notwithstanding the potential diminishment of the effectiveness of the MRRIC by including language in the recommended charter that could restrict federal agency participation, in light of federal law, the Secretary may have little or no legal discretion to approve a charter that includes such restrictive language.

The Federal Working Group requests that the Drafting Team and Review Panel consider the above information as it determines the most productive ways to use the limited amount of time available. We will be pleased to respond to any questions or concerns you may have.

For comments or questions about this website, please contact: usiecr@ecr.gov. This page was last updated 7/17/2019.