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Pallid Sturgeon Passage or Problem?

A spokesman for Montana Trout Unlimited is asking the public to provide comment on plans by the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation to build a new dam and diversion channel on the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana. David Brooks is Associate Director of Conservation for Montana Trout Unlimited. He says federal officials have proposed building a new dam at Intake, Montana to replace an existing dam. Brooks says a draft Environmental Impact Statement outlines how the dam could be constructed and still allow river passage for pallid sturgeon living in the Yellowstone…

“…The preferred alternative by the agencies is to build a slightly larger, more permanent dam there to continue to feed water into an irrigation system and build a by-pass around that. A two-mile man made channel that the agencies hope will allow these fish to swim around the new dam.”

Brooks says studies show how the by-pass would work, but there is no certainty the fish would use it. He says it is a $60-Million project with no guarantees for success…

“…This is the rarest fish in Montana, an endangered species. A 78-Million year-old species that is very specifically adapted to spawn in open rivers. And really the best chance at survival, given that there are probably less than 125 naturally-born fish left in this river system is to open the river for them.”

The public comment period on the draft EIS closes next Friday, July 28th.

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