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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digestarrow Summer 2002 arrow South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska: Operation of Missouri River Dams and Reservoirs
Case Update:
South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska: Operation of Missouri River Dams and Reservoirs

Agency: Army Corps of Engineers
As reported in the Spring 2002 Case Digest, historic properties are being threatening by erosion, vandalism, and recreational development from the Army Corps of Engineers’ operation of dams and reservoirs in its Missouri River Mainstem System in South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska.

In June 2002, ACHP held a public hearing in Pierre, South Dakota, on the situation. ACHP members who participated in the hearing were Chairman John Nau, who led the proceeding; Ray Soon; Philip Grone, representing the Secretary of Defense; Lou Gallegos, representing the Secretary of Agriculture; and Kitty Higgins, representing the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Hearing participants at the Missouri River, Pierre, South Dakota

Hearing participants at the Missouri River. From left to right: Ellsworth Chytka, Yankton Sioux Tribe; Pemina Yellow Bird, Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa Nation; Philip Grone, ACHP member designee for U.S. Department of Defense; Pem Hall, Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District Tribal Coordinator; and Mike Kaczor, U.S. Forest Service Federal Preservation Officer. (Staff photo)

Many Native American individuals, organizations, and tribal leaders and staff testified at the hearing as to the importance and fragility of the Missouri River and its historic properties. Some noted that sites such as cemeteries and burials are sacred places fundamental to their tribes’ continued culture and religion. Many spoke of the Corps’ need to consult more meaningfully with tribes on historic preservation matters, and expressed interest in partnering with the agency to help it carry out its responsibilities for managing historic properties.

The on-going erosion of historic properties from the Corps’ dams and from vandalism, looting, and recreation facilities concerned all speakers, including tribal members and leaders, archeologists, and representatives of Augustana College, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the North Dakota State Historic Preservation Office. All spoke of the unique, national significance of the Missouri River’s historic and prehistoric resources, and urged the Corps to take immediate action against threats to the properties.

Based on testimony from the hearing, written public comments, and background information, ACHP will review the Corps’ management of Missouri River Mainstem System historic properties. It will provide recommendations on how the Corps can improve the effectiveness, coordination, and consistency of its Mainstem System historic preservation program.

For background information on this case, see the Spring 2002 Case Digest at


Staff contact: Margie Nowick

Posted August 8, 2002

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