FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 15, 2005
Farmers to Declare, “My Farm is NOT your Laboratory!”
HIGBEE, Mo. – Floodplain farmers at risk of adverse flood and inland drainage impacts from two Missouri River manmade “spring rises” are set to proclaim that “My farm in NOT your laboratory” at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Draft Annual Operating Plan public meetings in Kansas City, Jefferson City and St. Louis on November 15 and 16.
“Missouri stakeholders do not support any spring rise and are especially offended by the inclusion of the May rise,” stated Randy Asbury, executive director of the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River. “This plan, based on inadequate and unproven science, ignores downstream interests. The haphazard nature of this experiment-driven river management, as characterized by this plan, produces ongoing unreliability and potential economic hardship!”
Missouri farm organizations and farmers roundly denounced the Corps’ October announcement that – not one but two – spring rises would be released from Gavins Point Dam in 2006 to stimulate pallid sturgeon spawn.
Despite what federal officials say or models show, a spring rise increases flood and inland drainage risks in connection with a large naturally occurring rain event. Manmade releases of water from Gavins Point Dam are unstoppable once released and can add up to 2 feet to flood stage flows.
Summer spring rise plenary group discussions confirmed there are more questions than answers regarding pallid sturgeon science and needs. There is no evidence that a natural spring rise would benefit pallid spawning. To the contrary, scientific discussions pointed to other factors such as water temperature as possibly being more advantageous as a pallid spawning cue.
Moreover, established scientific baselines are not in place to gauge the success or failure of the spring rises. Management decisions based on unverifiable results only produce more unwarranted experiments.
“The foolishness of the scientific shortcomings of this issue demands that the Corps and Fish and Wildlife Service reinitiate consultation. Anything short of reinitiating consultation sets the stage for ongoing controversy, river unreliability and economic hardship,” stated Asbury. “Common sense stewardship is the order of the day. Theory-driven management must stop!”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 24, 2005
Stakeholders Denounce Two Spring Rises that Highlight 2006 Missouri River Operating Plan
HIGBEE, Mo. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ announced today that two spring rises are a key feature of the Draft 2005-06 Missouri River Annual Operating Plan (AOP). A spring rise is a manmade release of flows from the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota that ostensibly are necessary to recover the endangered Pallid Sturgeon – an ancient looking fish that dwells in the Missouri River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first mandated a spring rise for the sake of pallid spawning in their 2000 Biological Opinion.
“Common sense continues to escape the grasp of the federal agencies responsible for making Missouri River management decisions,” said Randy Asbury, executive director of the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River. “More than ever before, this summer’s meetings confirmed that little, if any, science exists to justify that spring rises will benefit the pallid. This announcement is nothing more than a prelude for government experiments in the floodplains at the potential expense of farmers.”
For years, floodplain farmers have aggressively fought the concept of a spring rise for the adverse impacts that could occur from flooding and inland drainage issues. Despite the hundreds of concerns expressed by farmers since 1994 in letters, in testimony and in person, government agencies have not listened.
Stickers worn to a Missouri River hearing this summer regarding a spring rise best describe the sentiment of floodplain farmers. They emphatically stated, “My Farm is NOT your laboratory.”