WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, recently continued his efforts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address maintenance and upkeep needs at the recreation areas around Lake Sakakawea, including addressing drought conditions that are making lake access difficult. The senator spoke to Col. Mark Himes, Commander of the Army Corps’ Omaha District, and discussed the following priorities:
- Appointing a Drought Coordinator to help coordinate the Corps’ drought responses with the efforts of other federal, state and local stakeholders.
- Establishing a regional general permit to expedite the permitting process for drought-related projects, such as extending water intakes or boat ramp maintenance.
- Securing funding to support maintenance on boat ramps that are owned by the Corps.
“The persistent low water levels at Lake Sakakawea have created real challenges, impacting boat ramps, roads and other facilities,” said Senator Hoeven. “That’s why we’ve been working with the Corps to fund and streamline their drought response, while ensuring they coordinate their efforts with state and local stakeholders. We appreciate Col. Himes’ partnership and hard work in these matters so that North Dakotans can enjoy the lake and its activities. In particular, the regional general permit that’s in place for North Dakota will be helpful in expediting permits, and we look forward to the appointment of a Drought Coordinator.”
“The Omaha District is committed to partnering with our federal, state, and local stakeholders to find solutions to improve recreational access during anticipated drought conditions,” said Colonel Mark Himes, Omaha District Commander.
The discussion builds on Hoeven’s previous efforts with Col. Himes to address maintenance needs in the region. The senator also worked to include report language in annual appropriations legislation directing the Corps to work with local stakeholders on a long-term sustainable plan to restore and maintain recreational facilities near Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe.
Stakeholders can obtain Missouri River updates from the Water Management Division at https://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/index.html.