Since 2001, MSAC has recognized four individuals and one organization as Friends of the River. All MSAC Friends of the River have helped forge a path to educate the public about the problems caused by sediment accumulation and why the benefits provided by the dams and reservoirs of the Missouri River are so precious.
On April 4, 2016, MSAC will recognize researcher Howard Coker of Vermillion as a Friend of the River. Look for more details soon.
In October of 2008, MSAC presented a Friend of the River plaque to Patrick Callahan of OaheTV in Pierre. Callahan produced an educational DVD for MSAC which was utilized for dozens of presentations and hundreds of copies were made for free distribution. Callahan took aerial photos, shot video footage, and produced the 30-minute video.
On March 20, 2009, Dar DeChandt accepted the Friend of the River award honoring the work of her late husband, Tony Dean. Dean narrated a 30-minute educational video utilized by MSAC to illustrate sedimentation issues along the Missouri River and was a great promoter of river conservation.
On May 21, 2012, MSAC honored the dedication of Howard Paul with more than 12 years of service to the organization and laying the groundwork to get the organization started. MSAC was incorporated on June 8, 2001. Paul worked tirelessly generating membership contributions and communicated with thousands of people including elected officials, government agency staff, and the general public about the problems associated with accumulating sediment in the Missouri River reservoirs. South Dakotans observed Howard Paul Day May 21, 2012 upon his retirement.
In June of 2013, MSAC recognized the outstanding support of Missouri River Energy Services of Sioux Falls. MRES is an organization of 61 member municipalities that own and operate their own electric distribution systems. MRES is dedicated to supplying its members with reliable, cost-effective, long-term energy and energy services in a fiscally responsible and environmentally sensitive manner. For more than 40 years, MRES has supplied energy and energy-related services to its members. Since MSAC’s beginning, MRES has been a major contributor to fuel MSAC’s efforts. MSAC’s mission is to educate the public about the problems associated with sedimentation in the Missouri River reservoirs, and to maintain communications with agencies and decision makers in its efforts to pursue means of alleviating the problem.
On March 31, 2015, MSAC recognized the late Rayder Swanson of Niobrara as a Friend of the River. Swanson was no stranger to the challenges of sedimentation. Swanson lived all 58 years of his life in or near Niobrara, Nebraska. At the time of his death, he was serving as a Director for the Board of the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition, and as District 2 Supervisor on the Knox County Board where he began serving in 2001. He was cited as the driving force in the lawsuit of Knox County v. Army Corps of Engineers in which the county received more than $10 million for damages to infrastructure due to sedimentation and flooding. The claim, filed in 2002, was sought as reimbursement for damages to Knox County roads and bridges because of sedimentation problems in the Missouri River. Swanson was also active in sedimentation issues before MSAC was formed in 2001. He was a founding member of the Lewis and Clark South Dakota Nebraska Preservation Association, a group that was instrumental in drawing the attention of elected officials to sedimentation issues in the area. Rayder’s widow Kim accepted the award at MSAC’s annual meeting in 2015 at Niobrara.