Save the Pallid Sturgeon by Removing Constrictive Dam

pallid_sturgeon

Target: John W. Henderson, Colonel, Corps of Engineers, District Commander and John F. Soucy, Deputy Regional Director, Great Plains Region, Bureau of Reclamation

Goal: Remove the dam that blocks endangered pallid sturgeon from reaching their spawning grounds.

The pallid sturgeon is fighting extinction due to a loss of habitat. An old, unnecessary dam on the Yellowstone River in Intake, Montana is currently blocking the upstream migration of adult pallid sturgeon, an endangered species of ray-finned fish found in the Missouri and lower Mississippi river basins, and keeping them from reaching their spawning and larval drift habitats.

River alterations such as damming and channelization are largely responsible for the decline in pallid sturgeon and other native fish species, as these modifications have dramatically changed the environmental characteristics of the Missouri River. The majority of its wetland and sandbar ecosystems have been destroyed, and the natural seasonal flooding of the region’s flood plains no longer occurs due to reduced water flow rates.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are currently preparing an environmental impact statement for the Intake Diversion Dam fish passage project in Dawson County, Montana. Until the statement is submitted on February 18, 2016, they are accepting comments considering alternatives in the interest of protecting the passage of pallid sturgeon and other fish. Now is the time to demand a dam-free, open river solution that will guarantee free passage to the pallid sturgeons’ spawning grounds.

Yellowstone River is one of the best opportunities for the recovery of the pallid sturgeon, but only if we ensure that their natural habitats are accessible and unrestricted. Sign the petition below to urge the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation to include a dam-free alternative in their environmental impact statement and give the pallid sturgeon a chance to survive.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear District Commander Col. Henderson and Deputy Regional Director Soucy,

The Intake Diversion Dam in the Yellowstone River is damaging to endangered pallid sturgeon and must be removed. The pallid sturgeon is currently facing extinction due to a loss of natural habitat, and the dam is blocking their upstream migration and blocking off their spawning grounds. These fish need our protection, and the only way to ensure their continued existence is by granting them free access to their habitats.

I am urging you to replace the diversion dam with more efficient water delivery methods that will leave the river free-flowing and allow the pallid sturgeon passage to their spawning grounds. Please include a dam-free alternative in your environmental impact statement and help protect this quickly declining species.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ken Bouc

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