Meeting Focused on Proposed Missouri River Recovery Plan

The Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) met May 23-25 in Sioux Falls. League staff represent conservation and environmental organizations on the committee, which was launched in 2008 to guide the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Missouri River recovery efforts.

Much of the meeting discussion focused on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Corps’ proposed Missouri River Recovery Management Plan. The League submitted comments on the proposed plan in April, expressing concerns about the Corps’ preferred recovery alternative. We asked that fish and wildlife habitat be created utilizing the river’s natural processes whenever possible rather than employing heavy machinery to create habitat along the river. Other committee members expressed concerns about the Corps’ preferred alternative and whether it goes far enough to help recover needed habitat. MRRIC members will continue to work with the Corps on the recovery plan and the accompanying Adaptive Management Plan this summer. MRRIC will meet in Omaha in August.

MRRIC members also toured the fish hatchery and power plant at Gavins Point Dam followed by a boat tour of an area below the dam. The tour provided many MRRIC members with their first exposure to this part of the Missouri National Recreational River and gave them a first-hand personal look at how this stretch of the river – which, despite man-made changes, resembles the old Mighty MO with sandbar and island habitats, floodplain connectivity, and backwater habitats – functions today.

For more information about MRRIC, visit the Missouri River Recovery Program website.