U.S. Department of Defense



Date of this Version



Published in Executive Summary (2003) 1-11


In 1989, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) initiated consulation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regarding operation of the Missouri River Main Stem Reservoir System. The species covered were the endangered Interior least tern (Sterna antillarum), threatened Northern Great Plains piping plover (Charadrius melodus), and the endangered bald eagle (Hallaeetus leucocehpalus). Subsequently, the pallid sturgeon (Seaphirhynchus alba) was listed as endangered in 1990. The bald eagle is now a threatened species proposed for delisting.

Consultation between the Corps and the Service in 2000 covered operations of the Missouri and the Kansas Rivers as well as the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project. The 2000 Biological Opinion found that the actions proposed by the Corps would jeopardize the Interior least tern, pallid stugeon and piping plover, but would not jeopardize the bald eagle. With the intent of precluding jeopardy to the species, the Service provided a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA).

Because of new data on mortality of terns and plovers, the 2002 designation fo critical habitat for the piping plover, and new information of RPA element II, on November 3, 2003, the Service accepted the Biological Assessment and started formal consultation.

In the Biological Assessment, the Corps accepted most elements from the RPA in the 2000 Biological Opinion but proposed replacing the element that required spring and summer flows. In addition, the Corps proposed a modified drought conservation plan, Gavins Point Dam summer releases, accelerated construction of shallow water habitat, pallid sturgion hatchery improvements, accelerated pallid sturgeon brood stock collection, and adaptive management (including research, monitoring and evaluation, and flow tests).

The Service reviewed the Corps proposed actions, the new information, and the actions in the 2000 Biological Opinion being implemented by the Corps. It was the Service's responsibility to ensure that the proposed actions do not jeopardize the species by appreciably reducing the likelihood of both the survival and recovery of the listed species in the wild. To make the assessment, the Service reviewed the new information, current status of the species, the proposed and ongoing actions, and the adverse and beneficial effect the actions would likely have on the species.