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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is committed to recover Missouri River species, while fulfilling its century-old responsibility to protect human health and safety. To aid in the recovery of the endangered pallid sturgeon, the Corps releases extra water from Missouri River reservoirs in March and May. These “spring pulses” mimic the historic river rises that resulted from melting snow on the plains and mountains, before the construction of dams on the river. Biologists believe these pulse events are necessary for Missouri River species to reproduce and survive, which is critical for a healthy river environment.
At the same time, the Corps understands that spring rises - whether created by reservoir releases or occurring naturally due to rainfall runoff - can potentially impact other river resources, such as farmland, groundwater and cultural resources. Therefore, to evaluate the effectiveness of the spring pulse and ensure that impacts to other river resources are prevented, the Corps works with other federal and state agencies to closely monitor spring rises. This fact sheet explains these monitoring efforts.