U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE BIOLOGICAL OPINION ON THE OPERATION OF THE MISSOURI RIVER MAIN STEM RESERVOIR SYSTEM, OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE MISSOURI RIVER BANK STABILIZATION AND NAVIGATION PROJECT, AND OPERATION OF THE KANSAS RIVER RESERVOIR SYSTEM
Date of this Version
The Corps of Engineers provides the primary operational management of the Missouri River and is responsible under the Endangered Species Act to take actions within its authorities to conserve listed species. On April 3, 2000, the Corps asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to formally consult under the Endangered Species Act on the Operations of the Missouri River Main Stem System, and related Operations of the Kansas River Tributary Reservoirs, and the Operations and Maintenance of the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project. The Corps of Engineers prepared biological assessments for each of these projects and determined that their operations may affect listed species. The species covered under this consultation are the endangered pallid sturgeon, the endangered least tern, the threatened piping plover, and the threatened bald eagle. Current river operations on the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, as well as the continued maintenance of the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, are expected to perpetuate habitat loss, nest failure, reduction in forage base, reduction of spawning cues, and overall reductions in reproductive success of these species.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has reviewed project plans and determined that the operation of the three Missouri River projects under past and present operating criteria and annual plans have severely altered, and continue to alter under present operating plans, the natural hydrology and the riverine, wetland, and terrestrial flood plain habitats and fish and wildlife resources of the Missouri River and lower Kansas River ecosystems. Current operations, if continued without significant alterations, likely will cause further declines in other native species and likely will result in additional species listed as threatened or endangered. If more Missouri River species are listed in the future, operational conflicts and constraints will increase, while flexibility to manage the system will decrease.