By Josie Loza
UNO and the Students for Environmental Studies will host a public forum Feb. 2 on the future of the Missouri River.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom.
Speakers will be brought in to discuss the National Academy of Sciences Jan. 9 report.
The academy released a report warning that the Missouri River and its ecosystem will continue to deteriorate unless its natural flow is significantly restored.
Since the late ’80s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been studying alternative ways to manage the water levels. Six options are currently under consideration.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for operating a series of dams that regulate water levels.
The key controversy centers on whether the U.S. Army Corps should try to restore the natural water flow to the river, more specifically through increasing spring flows and decreasing summer flows.
The forum is meant to help students and the public understand this issue and inform them about the options relating to water level management.
It will give the people on campus as well as in the greater Omaha area an outlet to hear not only what’s going on, but also to voice their opinions, said John McCarty, director of environmental studies.
Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Service will describe the management options.
A panel of speakers representing the farm community, industry and conservation group also will be present to discuss what the options mean for their interests.