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Corps Will Release 'As Much Water As Possible'

November 7, 2011, 6:14 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Corps Will Release 'As Much Water As Possible'
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it's changing the way it manages the Missouri River.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say they are making the changes because of all the public input they received.

The Corps has come under scrutiny this year because of the record flooding up and down the Missouri River this summer that caused millions of dollars worth of damage from Pierre to Dakota Dunes.

The Corps said it will be getting as much water out of the Missouri River Dam system as possible this fall and winter to prepare for the runoff, rain and snow melt in the spring and summer of 2012.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says it's welcome news.

"They didn't exhibit that reaction response in 2011 and I think they heard about it, and now I think they're aware that people are going to be paying closer attention," Daugaard said.

Daugaard has been involved in several meetings with the Corps this summer and fall and voiced his concerns with the way the river was managed this year.

"I'm not the only person whose voice they've heard, and some of those voices were less moderated in tone, and so I'm sure they don't enjoy when folks are angry with them and let it be shown," Daugaard said.

The Corps says not only will they release as much water as possible through the Missouri River system this winter to get ready for the spring, but they also plan to communicate with the public about their plans every other month through conference calls.

Daugaard believes the Corps will be more flexible next year.

"They're going to be hyper-sensitive to the extent they need to release sooner in the next release season of 2012. I think they will," Daugaard said.

Daugaard says he appreciates all of the South Dakotans who shared their concerns about this summer's flooding with the Corps of Engineers. He says it's hard for the agency not to listen when they hear from so many people.

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