Recently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service submitted their biological opinion on the Missouri River to the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The opinion stated that the Missouri River Recovery Plan (MRRP) is justified by science. Representative Sam Graves, (MO-06), released the following statement:
“This is tone deaf at best. Just last month, a court ruled that the Corps management of the river resulted in unnecessary flooding.
“It’s no surprise to me that the Fish and Wildlife Service would trot out a report like this to justify their harmful activities. Fish and Wildlife is entitled to their ‘opinion’ but they aren’t entitled to spend more taxpayer money to cause needless flooding on the Missouri River. This report ignores the court’s decision and I’ll continue to fight to get rid of the funding for this harmful plan.”
In March, a US Federal Claims Court found that the US Army Corps of Engineers’ management of the Missouri River led to five floods between 2007-2014.
Since 2011, the Missouri River Recovery Plan has received over $400 million to carry out various activities including land acquisition and construction of shallow water habitats and other features meant to help the recovery of three endangered species- the interior least tern, piping plover, and pallid sturgeon. While landowners and farmers have had to endure regular flood events, the program has shown no measurable improvement toward species recovery and therefore has been abandoned. FWS and USACE have begun rolling out a new, unproven strategy known as Interception-Rearing Complexes.
As before, the agencies are not planning to conduct this strategy on a pilot project basis, instead moving forward and spending millions of dollars without pausing to measure results or to see what damage may be done to the other authorized purposes, including flood control and navigation.
Graves led a letter last month to the House Appropriations Committee requesting that funding for the Army Corps’ Missouri River Recovery Plan be eliminated. Over the last decade, Congressman Graves has introduced legislation to remove fish and wildlife as a priority for the Army Corps of Engineers when managing the Missouri River.