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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that the Corps of Engineers (Corps), in coordination with the appropriate resources agency, will ensure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any federally listed threatened or endangered species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Formal consultation between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Corps under Section 7 of the ESA culminated with the "Biological Opinion on the Operation of the Missouri River Main Stem System, Operation and Maintenance of the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, and Operation of the Kansas River Reservoir System" (Opinion), dated November 30, 2000. The Opinion concludes the existing operation of Missouri River Main Stem System, the maintenance and operation of the BSNP and operation of the Kansas Reservoir System jeopardizes the existence of the endangered interior least tern and pallid sturgeon and the threatened piping plover. It also concludes there will be an incidental take of bald eagles.
In its Opinion, the FWS recommends a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) with numerous elements; Reasonable and Prudent Measures (RPM) to minimize take/harm of the noted species; and Conservation Recommendations (CR) that would benefit the species. Main elements of the RPA are adaptive management, flow enhancement, unbalanced system regulation, habitat restoration/creation/acquisition, and speciesspecific measures to avoid jeopardy. The RPA and RPM are required actions, and the CR are discretionary actions specific to the four species.