Hunting Fishing Discussions
COE Spring Pulse Update
Corps says not enough water to conduct spring pulse
OMAHA – The Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it will not conduct a spring pulse this month because the amount of water in the system of Missouri River reservoirs is too low.
There was 36.3 million acre feet (MAF) of water stored in the reservoirs this morning. This is below the storage preclude of 36.5 MAF, which is part of the technical criteria contained in the revised Missouri River Master Water Control Manual. A Memorandum of Decision implementing the revised Master Manual was signed yesterday by Brig. Gen. Gregg Martin, Northwestern Division Engineer.
The technical engineering criteria for “spring pulses” in March and May were not included in the update of the Master Water Control Manual in 2004. The Corps conducted an environmental assessment of the potential impacts of the pulses. The EA concluded that the size, duration and timing of the bimodal spring pulses were covered in the range of alternatives considered in the Master Manual Review and Update Final Environmental Impact Statement.
The decision on whether to conduct a May pulse will be based on the reservoir storage check on May 1. If the level is above 36.5 MAF, there will be a pulse. If the storage is below the preclude, it will be delayed until at least 2007.
Also contained in the technical criteria is an increase of the storage preclude to
40 MAF in years following the successful conduct of pulses above 36.5 MAF. A decision on the May pulse will be determined by the May 1 storage check.
The 2003 Amended Biological Opinion published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identifies pulses in the spring from Gavins Point as part of the Reasonable and Prudent Alternative to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of the endangered pallid sturgeon.
“After a great deal of discussion with the members of the Plenary Group, we took their input and concerns to develop pulses that have very short duration peaks,” said General Martin. “We believe this plan complies with the Endangered Species Act, fulfills our tribal trust and treaty responsibilities, meets the congressionally authorized purposes and balances the needs of the stakeholders.”
The Plenary Group was made up of 50 members representing federal agencies, Tribes, states and a wide variety of regional stakeholders representing agriculture, navigation, environmental and other business interests.
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