U.S. Water News Online
WASHINGTON -- After two years of public debate that included some two dozen hearings, the Army Corps of Engineers has scrapped a controversial plan that would have mimicked natural springtime flood surges of the Missouri River to enhance endangered species habitat. At the same time a negotiating team has been convened by the Missouri River Basin Association to attempt to reach a compromise on regulating management of mainstem dams that regulate the flow of the river.
A "preferred alternative" of the corps in revision of the river's operational manual would have released more water from the dams in the spring and less in the fall in an attempt to replicate the river's natural flow. While the plan was generally embraced by upstream states that rely on recreational tourism, downstream interests opposed the move as being detrimental to river navigation and agriculture in general. Among the opponents of the proposal were the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As it stands, the proposal will be rewritten, Col. Michael Thuss of the corps wrote to members of Congress. A new plan probably won't be ready for public review until 1997, Thuss said.
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