League Concerned About Missouri River Recovery Plan

The League is preparing detailed comments outlining our concerns about the Army Corps of Engineers’ preferred alternative for Missouri River recovery. It’s critically important for the League to weigh in on this draft recovery plan because it will chart the course for habitat recovery for decades and directly impact fish and wildlife, outdoor recreation, and communities along the river.

The Missouri River Recovery Management Plan Draft Environmental Impact Statement outlines six proposed recovery alternatives to restore habitat for fish and wildlife. Hundreds of thousands of acres of aquatic and terrestrial habitat have been lost or destroyed by man-made alterations along the river, including six mainstem dams and reservoirs and a navigation channel from Sioux City to St. Louis – all of which make the Missouri the most altered river in America.

The Corps’ preferred alternative (Alternative 3) is based entirely on the Corps constructing habitat along the river using heavy equipment – a very costly endeavor. The League strongly believes that to provide the best results, recovery actions need to restore as much natural fish and wildlife habitat as possible. In addition, a construction-only recovery alternative would leave the river’s endangered and native species vulnerable to federal budget cuts.

The League is urging the Corps to incorporate recovery options that would allow the river to restore its own habitat in select areas. A more natural restoration process would be less expensive and would more effectively reduce flood risks, improve water quality, restore habitat for self-sustaining fish and wildlife populations, and increase recreational opportunities.

The public comment period runs through April 24, and the League is asking chapters and divisions to sign on to our comments to show support for these positions. The League’s final comments will be posted on our Missouri River web page. The Corps will evaluate all comments received and issue a final Environmental Impact Statement in summer 2018.

If you have questions about the draft plan or the League’s comments, contact Regional Conservation Coordinator Paul Lepisto. You can read the Corps' draft plan on the National Park Service's Planning, Environment and Public Comment website.