Water Resources:

Evaluation of Erosion Problems on Upper Missouri River

RCED-88-71BR: Published: Mar 7, 1988. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 1988.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated streambank erosion problems on the Upper Missouri River, focusing on: (1) whether the Army Corps of Engineers conducted any erosion study before planning and constructing its six dams and lakes on the river; (2) the extent of erosion problems that are caused by the Corps' operations; (3) the environmental and economic impacts of erosion; and (4) the Corps' legal authority and liability related to the erosion problem.

GAO found that: (1) the Corps reasonably did not evaluate streambank erosion problems during the planning stages of the dams because it was not required to do so; (2) while the Corps' dams have decreased erosion, they have also eliminated offsetting soil accretion; (3) in 1987, the Corps identified 192 potential erosion control sites on the Upper Missouri and estimated that irrigation would cost $103.6 million; (4) the few environmental impact statements that the Corps prepared for Upper Missouri projects noted only minor environmental effects; (5) the cost of erosion control structures in North Dakota would greatly exceed the economic benefits; (6) the Corps has statutory authority to construct erosion control structures only when they are economically justifiable; and (7) while property owners might claim damages for bank erosion, they would have little chance of winning compensation.

Nov 20, 2020

Nov 19, 2020

Oct 6, 2020

Sep 23, 2020

Aug 6, 2020

Aug 5, 2020

Jul 23, 2020

Jul 14, 2020

Jun 25, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here