The Bureau of Reclamation’s Great Plains Region has selected Richard Long to serve as the Dakotas Area Office Manager in Bismarck, ND. He replaces Dennis Breitzman who is retiring.
“Dick brings a wealth of operations and management experience to the position from his 36 year Reclamation career,” said Mike Ryan, Great Plains Regional Director. “His depth of on the ground experience, his ability to communicate and collaborate, along with his vision, will guide the Dakotas Area Office into the future.”
Long began his federal career with Reclamation as an Agricultural Engineer in McCook, Neb. in 1974. He worked in Reclamation’s Great Plains Regional Office in Billings, Mont., for ten years, administering the Rehabilitation and Betterment Program, along with facility operations and maintenance programs.
From 1987 to 1990 he was Water and Land Division Chief at the Grand Junction Projects Office in western Colorado. In 1990, he joined the Montana Area Office in Billings, as Chief, Water & Land Division, and has held various positions since that time as a supervisor responsible for water and land resource management, facility operation and maintenance and dam safety. Before coming to Reclamation, Long worked for two years as a surveyor for a contractor on the construction the McClusky Canal in North Dakota.
Senator Byron Dorgan, D-ND, the chair of the U.S. Senate panel that funds water projects in the United States, is calling for four party international talks to resolve long standing disputes between the U.S. and Canada over water projects and flooding issues. Dorgan proposed that the talks begin in late September and be held in Washington, D.C.
In a letter to the U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson and Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer, Dorgan said the talks should include representatives of the United States and Canada, as well as officials from the state of North Dakota and the province of Manitoba. Issues involving the threat of an uncontrolled water spill from Devils Lake; the Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS) rural water project in northwestern North Dakota; and the dispute over a dike Canada erected between the U.S. and Canada near Pembina, North Dakota should be the focus of the talks, he said.
Dorgan heads the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee. He said there is “too much at stake in both countries for the disputes to continue or to delay actions that can be protective and helpful to the interests of both countries.”
Dorgan said he has had ongoing discussions with both the U.S. Ambassador to Canada and with the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. He has also spoken with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper about some of the water disputes with Canada.
“The increasing potential that rising flood waters in Devils Lake will flood and spill uncontrolled into the Sheyenne River should be of real concern to both countries, because an uncontrolled spill will cause serious problems in both eastern North Dakota and Canada,” Dorgan said.
“The news that the NAWS rural water project in northwestern North Dakota could now be delayed 10 years or more as a result of court challenges from Canada is a serious problem that affects tens of thousands of North Dakotans,” Dorgan said.
“It is imperative that both countries make a serious effort soon to find solutions to these and other long-standing water issues, such as opening the Canadian border dike near Pembina, which causes flooding on the North Dakota side, to natural drainage.”
North Dakota Governor John Hoeven tonight will present testimony to the Bureau of Reclamation regarding treatment options for the Northwest Area Water Supply Project. Hoeven’s testimony:
? Emphasizes the importance of the NAWS project
? Highlights the environmental soundness of the project, and the various protections that are already in place and planned for it; and
? Expresses concern that the Bureau of Reclamation must be prepared to immediately fund the preferred alternative selected.
“The science for the project as approved in the Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact is sound, and remains sound,” Hoeven’s testimony says. “Therefore, we respectfully and strongly urge the Bureau of Reclamation to select the so-called ‘No Action Alternative,’ the treatment plan included in the original Environmental Assessment approved by the Bureau and the EPA. The ‘no action alternative’ is a misnomer, because in reality this base-line option represents several enhancements already included in the project as approved by the Department of the Interior in 2001. These enhancements are meant to mitigate the risk of transferring biota or aquatic species across the watershed.”
“The NAWS project is vitally important to North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “If redundant treatment is required, meaning a full treatment plant at the Sakakawea intake, as well as full treatment in Minot, then we need a federal commitment to fund the additional cost now so that no further delay of this water delivery project occurs.”
Source: North Dakota Governor John Hoeven, February 5.
North Dakota Governor John Hoeven on August 13 met at Fort Stevenson State Park with Army Corps of Engineers officials and members of the Mississippi River Commission to stress the need for drought conservation throughout the Missouri River Basin.
Hoeven said lower Missouri River and Mississippi River interests want water for barge traffic. Good drought management practices enable higher and more stable water levels in the Missouri River basin, while providing greater predictability for the lower reaches of the Missouri River and the Mississippi, according to Hoeven.
“Shortening the navigation season early in a drought cycle, instead of waiting until the region is deep into it, will help protect fisheries, recreational interests, water intakes and other vital uses in the upper basin, resulting in greater predictability for navigation downstream,” Hoeven said. “If reservoirs are drawn down too far, it results in a ‘preclude,’ which means adverse impacts to upstream interests, and no navigation season at all downstream. That serves nobody’s interest.”
The seven-member panel appointed by the president is touring the entire Missouri River system, which runs 2,341 miles from its origins near Missouri River Headwaters State Park near Three Forks, Montana, through North Dakota and other states until it meets the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri.
North Dakota Governor John Hoeven