North Dakota governor calls for new interstate compact

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August 4, 2011

Bismarck, ND: Record-setting floods have plagued the Missouri River basin this spring and summer. Flood control efforts are not working as well as many would like, and releases from some dams on Upper Midwest reservoirs are higher than ever.

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has a solution. He plans to propose an interstate compact among the states in the Missouri River basin, from Montana to Missouri, at a governor's meeting later this month in Omaha. Currently, the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for flood control management, and though the group cites heavier-than-usual spring snowmelts and rainfall, Dalrymple believes the Missouri River states could, collectively, do a better job managing the flooding.

Dalrymple's proposal is not a new idea - across the country, states have come together through interstate compacts to manage flood control, water supply, and recreation. In Maryland and West Virginia, for example, the Jennings Randolph Lake Project Compact allows for both states to jointly manage the lake's resources. In New England, the Connecticut River Valley Flood Control Compact is designed to mitigate the effect the Corps' flood control projects have on the four surrounding states.

Dalrymple is hopeful that a compact in his region will help balancing the interests of upstream states, who use the river more for recreation, and the interests of downstream states, many of which rely on higher water levels on the river for barge traffic.[1]

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