Saturday, April 16, 2016

Missouri River dams filling with silt, destroying diversity


South Dakota's earth hater junior US senator is leading a crusade to block the US Environmental Protection Agency from identifying non-point sources of pollution deposited into watersheds by his GOP donors.
The 2016 Missouri River Institute Symposium was held Thursday on the campus of the University of South Dakota where everyone from chemists and biologists to National Park Service representatives and geologists shared their information on research done in the last several months on the Missouri River, and what impacts the data they have collected will have on the river and the people who live along its banks. David Swanson, Director of the Missouri River Institute and Professor of Biology at USD said that sharing of findings falls directly into line with the goal of the institute founded in 1999. “Part of it is, (the river) stays the same a lot more now than it did before the dam,” Swanson said. “Some of that variability of what you had before the dam is what made that whole ecosystem go and some of that is lost now. Can we mediate for that and is it important – those are some of the questions we need to be asking.” [Symposium Looks At Impact Of River On Area Ecosystem, Wetlands]
Mike Rounds is still blaming the US Army Corps of Engineers for his own stupid choice to build in a floodway.
A report released Sept. 12, 2014, by the Government Accountability Office said a number of factors were behind the flood and there were no forecasting tools available to the Corps that could have prevented the event. “By June 2011, the volume of water coming into the reservoirs from the extreme rains and melting snow was so great that the Corps had no choice in June and July but to release water to accommodate the inflow and prevent damage to dam infrastructure, such as spillways in danger of being overtopped,” the report says.[Joel Ebert, Pierre Capital Journal]
The Republican former governor of South Dakota after having built a house in a swamp that flooded received a generous self-reimbursement from insurance coverage underwritten by his own company knowing Lake Sharpe is filling with silt.
Fort Pierre and Pierre, South Dakota, sit at the head of Lake Sharpe. The Army formed Lake Sharpe after the closure of Big Bend Dam in 1963. The capital of South Dakota and its sister city now face a flood of epic proportions because of a combination of high water releases from Oahe Dam and the presence of a silty delta at the head of Lake Sharpe, which begins just southeast of Fort Pierre. [Muddy Mo: Reservoir Siltation and the Flood of 2011]
He's the same US Senator under federal investigation for his role in the EB-5 Bendagate scandal. He also lavished $75 million of state money on political cronies and donors and flagrantly violated the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Hidden agenda? The state has at least a $83 million dollar surplus but would argue it can’t afford to dredge and treat the dams so it expects taxpayers to do it. Ag and livestock special interests likely contribute the most poison crap to the system followed by human-based pharma/chemical toiletries.

Barrick Mining Company is on the hook for most of the worst shit: it's armed to the teeth with a bank of lawyers and lobbyists. The State enjoyed royalties and severance taxes. In another government land grab Barrick is engaged in negotiations that would trade property in Spearfish Canyon to the State of South Dakota belonging to tribal signatories of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.

With help from former Homestake land manager now Sturgis real estate broker, Denny McKay, former US Senator Tom Daschle sold out the people of South Dakota and the tribal nations trapped within its border by drafting legislation holding Barrick harmless.

Robert Schneiders is the author of two books on the environmental history of the Missouri River.
As for pheasants, they don’t stand a chance. Although the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department claims pheasant numbers rebounded somewhat in 2014 and 2015, because of two back-to-back warm winters, the overall trend looks bleak. Why? Because urbanization and industrialization of rural Dakota isn’t slowing, it’s accelerating. Consequently, habitat is going to continue to fall under the plow, bulldozer and backhoe. And there is nothing, and no one, who is going to stop it, especially not Gov. Dennis Daugaard and his lame pheasant recovery task-force. [op-ed, Robert Schneiders]
The bird is not wildlife but it is a canary in a chemically and genetically engineered coal mine.

During the flooding of 2011 Schneiders appeared on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio where he forecast the death of the Missouri River as a living ecosystem.

Since at least 2004 zebra mussels have been plaguing the main stem dams in the Missouri River. The invasive mussels compete with paddlefish and other native species like the pallid sturgeon.

Rounds co-conspirator, Attorney General Marty Jackley, is engaging in legal sock-puppetry. By suing the corps over surplus water he is forcing We the People to pay for the clean up of a century of mine tailings and organic effluent that has saturated the banks of the Belle Fourche/Cheyenne River system depositing many tons of toxic silt into Lake Oahe and the other downstream dams after 1962 now displacing many acre-feet of water.

The federal government has taken steps to remove dams on the Klamath River to restore habitat essential for spawning salmon and to preserve biological diversity.

It's time for that to happen on the Missouri River, too.

Rewild the West.

Image courtesy: interested party.

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