Missouri River Independent Advisory Panel

Missouri River Independent Science Advisory Panels

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) – through the Missouri River Recovery Program (MRRP) - are engaged in large scale ecosystem management on the Missouri River, with significant efforts to restore ecosystem functions and recover threatened and endangered species. This effort relies on collaborations with a wide range of governmental, academic, and private organizations that are working to deliver products, including extensive scientific analyses and syntheses. The Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) is a group of nearly 70 members representing various interests, tribes, and agencies who assists these efforts by developing recommendations for the agencies implementing the ecosystem management efforts.

The desire and need for independent scientific review and advice to support decisions and directions taken by USACE drove the creation of the MRRIC Independent Science Program. This program is managed by a Third Party Science Neutral (TPSN) who coordinates an Independent Science Advisory Panel (ISAP) that provides impartial reviews of pertinent science and answers questions received from MRRIC and/or the Lead Agencies (USACE and USFWS).

Further information about the approach, structure, and ground rules for the ISAP can be found here: USACE, MRRIC, ISAP Approach, Structure, and Ground Rules for Establishing an Independent Science Advisory Panel for the Missouri River Recovery Program (Approved by MRRIC on May 24, 2018). Lessons learned on panel operations can be found here.

To protect the neutrality of MRRIC’s Independent Science Program, the TPSN works under contract to the John S. McCain III National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution, and the ISAP experts work under subcontracts to the TPSN’s home organization (currently the Oak Ridge Associated Universities). NCECR is a program of the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, a federal agency whose mission is to promote leadership, education, collaboration, and conflict resolution in the areas of environment, public lands, and natural resources in order to strengthen Native nations, assist federal agencies and others to resolve environmental conflicts, and to encourage the continued use and appreciation of our nation’s rich resources. MRRIC’s Chair (currently Ms. Gail Bingham) and facilitation team (currently RESOLVE) also work under contract to the NCECR.

Independent Science Advisory Panel (ISAP)

In 2010, MRRIC approved the formation of the ISAP, which at that time was composed of six science advisors. (It now includes seven.) This panel is charged with independent science support and technical oversight, as requested on specific topics. Topics for the Independent Science Advisory Panel originate from USACE, USFWS, and/or MRRIC. Today, the following disciplines are represented on the standing panel:

  • Large River Ecology/Conservation
  • Biology
  • Large River Hydrology/Geomorphology
  • Sturgeon Biology/Ecology
  • Quantitative Ecology/Statistical Methods
  • Resource Economy/Sociology
  • Tribal Cultural Knowledge
  • Least Tern/Piping Plover Expertise

This page was last updated 5/11/2020.