The Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) developed over 40 recommendations during a meeting in Omaha this week. The recommendations relate to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Missouri River Recovery Management Plan, and cover a wide variety of topics. The League, which has had a seat on MRRIC since the committee’s inception in 2008, was involved in this important process.
MRRIC’s Bird, Fish, and Human Considerations work groups crafted recommendations regarding how the Corps should manage recovery actions for federally listed species. The pallid sturgeon, least tern, and piping plover – as well as other native species not listed as endangered – have lost riverine habitat due to man-made changes on the river. These changes include six upper basin reservoirs and an artificial navigation channel in the lower basin.
The work groups recommended that the Corps especially prioritize funding for monitoring the biological response of the endangered birds and fish to ongoing recovery efforts. The work groups further requested that the Corps seek additional outside expertise to provide opinions on future recovery actions. Finally, the work groups asked the Corps to provide MRRIC with further information on the health and population status of the three listed species.
The work groups agreed to advance the draft recommendations to the full MRRIC for possible approval at the committee’s May meeting in Sioux Falls. If approved, the recommendations will then need finalization by the committee in June before going to the Corps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal agencies.
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Cover image: MRRIC members debate the proposed recommendations to the Corps.