When the federal government shutdown ended last Thursday, local federal employees returned to work and tried to catch up after 16 days of furlough.
Mike Hagfeldt, the chief of the USDA office, said they were trying to get back into the swing of things.
“On Oct. 1 we just had to up and leave,” he said.
The bad part was they were just about to send CRP payments, and then the DCP (direct countercyclical payments) were going to go out.
He estimated that $7 million in payments were delayed but hoped that by Monday this week that everything would be back to “as normal as things can be.”
Hagfeldt said it will be virtually impossible for them to met the Nov. 15 deadline for fall certifications, which puts stress on his conscientious staff.
In a press release Monday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said all recreation facilities and lands at Fort Peck have been reopened with the exception of the Downstream and West End Campgrounds, which are closed for the season.
The Fort Peck Interpretive Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Due to the construction at the spillway, the Corps of Engineers has closed lands adjacent to the spillway to all public access. In addition, other access or hunting weapons restrictions apply to Corps lands in the Fort Peck Dam and spillway vicinities. Maps depicting these closures or restrictions are available at the Fort Peck Project Office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by calling the Natural Resource Department at 406-526-3411.
It’s business as usual at the Glasgow office of the BLM, according to field manager Pat Gunderson. He said the fiscal year ended at the end of September so they were finished up on their projects anyway, but now they’re behind on things for the next fiscal year. They’re wrapping up field work in the good weather, Gunderson said.
The continuing resolution passed by Congress includes a provision for back pay, so federal employees will get reimbursed for the time they were furloughed.