The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing more than 450 comments, including those from the League and League chapters, on the Missouri River Recovery Management Plan-Draft Environmental Impact Statement (MRRMP-DEIS).
Major General Scott Spellmon of the Corps’ Northwestern Division said the comments will help shape the final Environmental Impact State (EIS) as well as the Corps’ Record of Decision (ROD), which are expected to be completed next summer. The Corps will announce the selected recovery alternative and the accompanying habitat recovery actions in the ROD.
The draft plan included six proposed alternatives for restoring habitat lost to man-made changes, including reservoirs in the upper basin and a navigation channel in the lower basin. The loss of habitat led to three riverine species – the pallid sturgeon, interior least tern, and piping plover – to be placed on the federal endangered species list.
The Corps identified Alternative 3, which completely relies on the Corps constructing habitat with heavy machinery in and along the river, as its preferred alternative. However, the League asked the Corps to consider at a wider range of recovery alternatives that would include allowing the river to heal itself in selected areas. We also asked the Corps to find additional methods to restore habitat that, unlike Alternative 3, are not entirely subject to uncertain future federal funding.