Hoeven Urging Army Corps to Address Boat Ramp Maintenance at Lake Sakakawea, Lake Oahe ASAP

Senator Discusses Efforts to Improve Lake Access with Omaha District Commander

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, this week met with Col. Mark Himes, Commander of the Army Corps’ Omaha District, to advance repair efforts for boat ramps and recreation areas around Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe, which are currently impacted by drought conditions that make lake access difficult. The senator is urging the Army Corps to ensure maintenance of the lakes’ facilities is completed as soon as possible to improve access to the lakes for the spring and summer. To this end, Hoeven has worked with Himes and the Corps to:

  • Appoint a drought coordinator, who has now been selected, to help coordinate the Corps’ drought response with other federal, state and local stakeholders.
  • Provide regulatory relief for drought-related projects, such as extending water intakes or boat ramp maintenance, to expedite the permitting process.
    • At the senator’s urging, the Corps established a regional general permit to help complete projects in a timely way.
  • Identify and secure funding to extend and support maintenance on boat ramps.

“Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe are premiere recreation sites, and important to the economies and quality of life of communities throughout the region. That’s why we continue working with the Army Corps to address drought-related maintenance needs, including for boat ramps, to ensure people can access the lakes this spring and summer,” said Hoeven. “This was another productive conversation with Col. Himes, and I appreciate him working with us to get a drought coordinator in place, ensure a streamlined permitting process for these maintenance projects and find funding to get the work done as soon as possible.”

The meeting builds on Hoeven previous efforts with Col. Himesand Col. Geoffrey Van Epps, Commander of the Northwestern Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to address needed repairs. The senator also recently sent a letter to Army Corps Chief Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon outlining the maintenance needs in the region.  

Prior to this, Hoeven worked to include report language in annual appropriations legislation directing the Corps to work with local stakeholders on a long-term sustainable plan to restore and maintain recreational facilities near Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe. 

Stakeholders can obtain Missouri River updates from the Water Management Division at https://www.nwd-mr.usace.army.mil/rcc/index.html