Tuesday, November 27, 2012

MO River dams starving Gulf delta

Some sections of the Missouri River have already been labeled, "The Living Dead" because the main stem dams are limiting the sediment reaching the Gulf of Mexico to only 10 to 20 percent of what it would be historically from the Missouri today.

David Rookhuyzen writes in the second of a series in the Capital Journal:
Sediment plays an integral part in the ecosystem of the river. But the erection of dams, levies and bank stabilizations have disrupted the nature movement of that sediment, and is changing the nature of the river itself and causing ecological disruptions that reach as far as the Gulf of Mexico. Tim Cowman, Director of the Missouri River Institute at the University of South Dakota, said one of the clear effects of this deepening is the free-flowing sections of the river have become isolated from its flood plain and unable to carry out a vital exchange of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. The National Research Council study says more than half of the materials that formed the multi-lobed delta of the Mississippi River in the past 6,000 to 7,000 years were ultimately from the Missouri River Basin.
US Army Corps of Engineers has cut flows as it stores even more silt and causing consternation downstream.

President Obama:
Tourism is the number one service we export. Every year, tens of millions of tourists come from all over the world to visit America. They stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants, and see all the sights America has to offer. That’s good for local businesses. That’s good for local economies. And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. It’s that simple.
Tear out the Missouri River dams, Mr. President: rewild the West.

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