Rounds, Thune, Johnson: Army Corps Announces Major Step Toward Implementation of Snowpack Monitoring System

SDSU One of Four Schools Chosen to Lead the Upper Missouri River Snowpack Monitoring System, Awarded $12.8 Million Contract

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D) and John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep Dusty Johnson R-S.D.) today praised the news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has awarded major contracts to four universities, including South Dakota State University (SDSU), to establish a network of stations to monitor snowpack and soil moisture throughout the plains area of the Upper Missouri River Basin. SDSU will receive a $12.8 million contract, and earlier today the first task issue was issued for the first 10 sites to be installed in South Dakota. The project is expected to be completed by 2025.

“Following the flooding events of 2011 and 2019, it’s abundantly clear that we need more accurate weather monitoring throughout the Missouri Basin,” said Rounds. “Since coming to the Senate nearly six years ago, I’ve been working to implement a snowpack monitoring system, which will allow the Corps to make better, more accurate decisions with regard to river management. While there is more work ahead, today’s announcement is a huge first step toward better river system management.”

“When it comes to weather related events, having the most accurate, up to date information is one of the best tools we have to help mitigate potentially devastating consequences,” said Thune. “As we approach the 10th anniversary of historic flooding of 2011 in the Missouri River Basin, this important system will build on our work to improve forecasting and information sharing in an effort to ensure reliable information is available to state and local governments and residents as flood mitigation efforts are implemented.” said Thune. “I look forward to seeing the university’s work on this important issue.”

“No South Dakotan can forget the devastating flooding on the Missouri in 2011,” said Johnson. “Accurate snowpack monitoring and preparation are key. I’m confident SDSU will utilize these tools to ensure boots on the ground have an accurate forecast so South Dakotans can be best prepared.”

In addition to SDSU, the University of Wyoming, the University of Montana, and North Dakota State University have been chosen to lead the implementation of the snowpack monitoring system. The four universities will receive awards totaling $48.2 million, over the next 5 years, which will enable the construction of 35 monitoring stations in 2021.