Coalition Report

Brad Walker, Big Rivers Director
Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Troubles on the Missouri River

Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on the Missouri River to construct massive dams upstream and to shorten, straighten, and narrow the lower portion for barge traffic and agricultural use. However, this investment is not reaping the public benefits we often hear about, but depleting valuable economic resources for Missouri and its citizens. About 522,000 acres of floodplain and river habitats were lost or altered through the construction of a nine-foot barge channel, most of which has become levee-protected corn and soybean fields.

The loss of these large tracts of floodplains, and the wetlands contained within, has negatively impacted the ability of the river to function properly and the near total loss of the river’s public benefits. These benefits include: flood protection; water filtration; critical habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife; and recreation opportunities. Instead, what we have now is a channelized river that is used for draining pollution from farms into our drinking water supply and levees that separate floodplains from the river exacerbating flooding for downstream communities. Because the river doesn’t meander it runs faster, making it less viable for wildlife and recreation.

Please contact your federal representatives to demand full funding for the Missouri River Recovery Program. Visit www.moenviron.org for more information.