Programs & Organizations

The Missouri River is in the news on an almost daily basis. Often a confusing acronym or name is mentioned, and it is only those who deal with the issue on a regular basis that have any idea who that group is or what they do. The following list will provide a summary of the major groups involved in Missouri River issues affecting North Dakota.

Friends of Lake Sakakawea (FOLS)

Represents: The 15 member board represents the entire region around Lake Sakakawea, with representatives from the six counties adjoining Lake Sakakawea: (Mercer, Dunn, McKenzie, Williams, Mountrail, and McLean), one from the Three Affiliated Tribes, and two each from business, recreation, economic development, and cabin site interests. FOLS also has at-large, non-voting members.

Purpose: To provide leadership in developing a lake-wide vision and a unified voice for Lake Sakakawea.


Missouri River Joint Water Board

Represents: The water resource districts of Burleigh, Dunn, Emmons, Mercer, Morton, Mountrail, Oliver, Sioux, and Williams counties in North Dakota.

Purpose: To jointly exercise their powers to provide a cooperative and coordinated effort in addressing the management, conservation, protection, development, and control of water resources in the Missouri River Basin.


Missouri River Natural Resource Committee (MRNRC)

Represents: The seven state natural resource departments along the Missouri River (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri).

Purpose: A state-based group focused on Missouri River natural resource issues.


Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC)

Represents: 29 stakeholder members representing 16 non-governmental categories, eight states, and 29 tribes are eligible to have representatives on the committee. 15 federal agencies are also represented on the committee.

Purpose: MRRIC is an advisory committee to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). MRRIC is to provide consensus recommendations on activities related to the Missouri River Recovery Program (MRRP) for the recovery of the threatened Piping Plover and endangered Least Tern and Pallid Sturgeon.


North Dakota Missouri River Advisory Council (This group is currently in the process of formation)

Represents: A wide-ranging and diverse group of Missouri River stakeholders in North Dakota.

Purpose: To be determined.


North Dakota Emergent Sandbar Habitat (ESH) Team

Represents: Local, state and federal entities responsible for water resource and wildlife related issues, including the Missouri River Joint Water Board, Water Commission, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the Corps, and FWS.

Purpose: The Corps consults with and obtains recommendations from the ND ESH Team on protecting existing and creating new ESH to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of the threatened Piping Plover and endangered Least Tern.


Upper Missouri Water Users Association

Represents: This organization is governed by a board of directors representing a cross section of water interests in the four states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming) with membership of a wide variety of local, private, and public entities who are concerned about upper Missouri River water.

Purpose: Communication and education of projects, issues and programs in upper basin states.


Voices of Lake Oahe

Represents: People interested in providing a unified voice for water issues related to Lake Oahe.

Purpose: To provide leadership in developing recreational, agricultural, economic and environmental opportunities for Lake Oahe.