An Adaptive Management Plan for the Missouri River – What Might it Mean?

Published: October 14, 2015


An aerial photo of the Jameson Island unit of the Big Muddy Refuge looking north through the chute. photo courtesy of USFWS, Chance Bittner

Presentation by Tom Ball, Sierra Club Missouri River Grassroots Network

Original Presentation, October 14, 2015 at Big A’s Restaurant, St. Charles, MO.

The US Army Corps of Engineers manages Missouri River flows via a complex set of rules and laws designed to maximize benefits and reduce harms for 8 Congressional authorized purposes:  irrigation, water supply, water quality, hydro power, navigation, flood control, recreation, fish & wildlife. 

Operations and management of the six main-stem dams and the Bank Stabilization & Navigation Program dikes and levees have caused serious reductions of habitat for animal communities. 57 of the 61 native fish species originally found in the Missouri River are now rare or in decline, and there are biological opinions and recovery plans for 3 federally listed species:  pallid sturgeon, least terns and piping plovers. 

The Corps is obligated to correct agency actions that jeopardize continued existence for these threatened and endangered species. The 2003 amended biological opinion called for creation of an Adaptive Management Plan, and the Corps was preparing an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) that examined alterations of flow for the production and maintenance of Emergent Sandbar and Shallow Water Habitats within constraints specified by the needs of the other authorized purposes. The draft EIS was expected to be open for public comment in the spring or summer of 2017.  While the details are still being written, some of the actions being considered are now known. 

Attendees were able to hear Mr. Ball discuss adaptive management of the Missouri River, and ask him questions pertaining to the Missouri River Recovery Program. 

The Big Muddy Speakers Series in St. Charles

is hosted by these wonderful partners:

All speakers are presenting for free and Big A’s is sharing the space for free! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Rocheport and Kansas City.

A special thank you to Greg Poleski of Greenway Network and Mike Clark of Big Muddy Adventures for making this happen!

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