Just as on the Mississippi River, ecosystem restoration efforts have been ongoing within the Missouri River as well. Since 2000, the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been working on the Missouri River Recovery Program (MRRP), whose mission is to:
“Implement actions to accomplish Missouri River ecosystem recovery goals in coordination and collaboration with agency partners and stakeholders.”
Though often couched in terms of recovering three endangered species, the program’s success is actually dependent upon restoring significant portions of the 3 million acres of altered river habitat. The primary alterations have been the conversion of floodplains to other land uses – mainly agriculture – and the infrastructure constructed along and within the river including levees and navigation structures.
The 2007 WRDA authorized a study of the river called the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan (MRERP) and an associated Environmental Impact Statement will identify what needs to be done on the river to:
- mitigate losses of aquatic and terrestrial habitat;
- recover federally listed species under the Endangered Species Act; and
- restore the ecosystem to prevent further declines among other native species.
This is a 30 to 50 year process and progress on the process can be seen at the program’s Corps of Engineers website.
A third program, the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS) was begun in 2009 to review the river’s eight authorized purposes established in the Flood Control Act of 1944. This necessary program was defunded because of pressure from Missouri Congressional legislators for unjustified reasons in 2011. See The self-proclaimed Congressional “river guy”? Item 9 for more details.