NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under contract nos. DACW45-99-P-0492 and DACW45-01-P-0212, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under contract no. X-98804801.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON MISSOURI RIVER ECOSYSTEM SCIENCE
STEVEN P. GLOSS, Chair,
U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona*
ROBERT K. DAVIS,
University of Colorado, Boulder
DAVID T. FORD,
David Ford Consulting Engineers, Sacramento, California
GERALD E. GALLOWAY, Jr.,
International Joint Commission, Washington, D.C.
LARRY W. HESSE,
River Ecosystems, Inc., Crofton, Nebraska
W. CARTER JOHNSON,
South Dakota State University, Brookings
PEGGY A. JOHNSON,
Pennsylvania State University, University Park
KENT D. KEENLYNE,
Biological Services, Inc., Pierre, South Dakota
STEPHEN S. LIGHT,
Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, Minnesota
ERNEST T. SMERDON,
University of Arizona, Tucson
A. DAN TARLOCK,
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago
ROBERT G. WETZEL,
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
National Research Council Staff
JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Project Study Director
ANIKE L. JOHNSON, Project Assistant
WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD
RICHARD G. LUTHY, Chair,
Stanford University, Stanford, California
JOAN B. ROSE, Vice-chair,
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING,
Washington State University, Pullman
GREGORY B. BAECHER,
University of Maryland, College Park
KENNETH R. BRADBURY,
Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison
Black and Veatch, Boston, Massachusetts
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Pacific Institute, Oakland, California
STEVEN P. GLOSS,
U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona
JOHN LETEY, Jr.,
University of California, Riverside
DIANE M. McKNIGHT,
University of Colorado, Boulder
CHRISTINE L. MOE,
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
RUTHERFORD H. PLATT,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
JERALD L. SCHNOOR,
University of Iowa, Iowa City
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
R. RHODES TRUSSELL,
Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, California
STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director
LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer
JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer
MARK C. GIBSON, Staff Officer
WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Senior Staff Officer
M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate
PATRICIA A. JONES, Study/Research Associate
ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant
ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate
ANIKE L. JOHNSON, Project Assistant
JON Q. SANDERS, Project Assistant
Two hundred years ago, Lewis and Clark led their “Corps of Discovery” on an unprecedented expedition to explore the vast dimensions of the nation’s longest and largest river basin—the Missouri. Their central charge was to seek a water route to the Pacific Ocean to support commerce and development. Since those early days, the Missouri River and its tributaries have occupied a unique place in United States history. Like many of the nation’s major river systems in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Missouri was viewed as a river to be controlled for purposes of human settlement and as a resource to support economic development. The Missouri River’s water development hallmark was the Pick–Sloan Plan, which mandated the construction of a set of vast engineering projects aimed at controlling floods, facilitating navigation and commerce, and inducing agriculture and other forms of economic development in the Missouri Basin.
While many of society’s goals were accomplished through the Pick– Sloan Plan, the Pick–Sloan vision was not fully realized. Much of the agricultural and commercial development—including navigation—has not reached anticipated levels of development because of several reasons: shifting economic conditions, a harsh climate in many sections of the basin, and decreasing enthusiasm for large-scale water development projects in the United States. Population growth in the basin has been modest compared to many areas of the U.S. and census data portray a demographic trend of people moving away from the basin’s rural areas, with modest population growth in its cities. Just as Lewis and Clark never found an easily-traversed water route to the Pacific Ocean, a clear, consensus vision of the future
Missouri River basin remains elusive. Among the challenges in finding that course is determining the appropriate roles for the symbolic heart of the basin—the Big Muddy.
Our committee extends its gratitude to the study sponsors, the EPA and the Corps of Engineers. Jim Berkley and Ayn Schmitt of EPA (Denver) and Rose Hargrave of the Corps of Engineers (Omaha) are to be commended for their courage and vision in requesting the advice of the National Research Council regarding the condition and the adaptive management of the Missouri River ecosystem. Without their support and encouragement, this study would not have been possible.
In our meetings we sought and received input from many organizations and individuals with deep knowledge of the basin. The committee expresses its appreciation for the information and personal thoughts of many who helped shape its understanding and perception of the Missouri River. Input from local, state, and federal government officials and scientists, representatives of conservation and environmental organizations, trade groups, agriculturists, businesses, Native Americans, and others—too numerous to mention by name—were instrumental in informing our committee’s discussions about the Missouri River. Committee members also made numerous, enjoyable personal contacts with people in the basin from many walks of life, which enhanced our knowledge of the relations between people and the environment along the Missouri River. We also reviewed the extensive published literature dealing with the Missouri and large rivers in general. Much of our report contains the reflections of our findings from that literature. The enormity of the system and the diversity of its peoples and issues challenged us. Yet, through vigorous discussion and sharing of ideas, this committee came to a strong consensus about the state of the Missouri River ecosystem and ways in which its rich natural heritage might be restored and preserved, at least in part, for the next two hundred years of American history. I am personally grateful for the privilege of chairing a committee whose members demonstrated not only impressive scientific knowledge, but a sensitivity to the articulation of that science with policy, a sincere interest in our charge, and high degree of civility and camaraderie.
This report also reflects the dedication and diligent work of the NRC staff. The committee, and I as chair, wish to particularly thank Senior Staff Officer Jeffrey Jacobs of the NRC’s Water Science and Technology Board. Jeff’s clear thinking and guidance to the committee on matters of substance as well as procedure are reflected in the quality of this report. We also thank Anike Johnson for her able handling of logistics for our meetings and the mechanics of integrating material for the report. Jon Sanders provided able editorial support during the final stages of the report’s review. In
addition to the NRC staff, Rhonda Bitterli provided excellent editorial advice on the committee’s draft report.
This report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with the procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Barry Gold, U.S. Geological Survey; Lance Gunderson, Emory University; Lynne Lewis, Bates College; Diane McKnight, University of Colorado; Brian Richter, The Nature Conservancy; John Thorson, attorney and water policy consultant, Oakland, California; and M. Gordon Wolman, Johns Hopkins University.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Debra Knopman of RAND. Appointed by the National Research Council, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carefully carried out in accordance with the institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Today, the nation and the institutions and citizens in the Missouri Basin are embarking on another journey of discovery. In some ways, this journey resembles Lewis and Clark’s expedition of two hundred years ago, in that stakeholders in the Missouri Basin will be challenged to explore the unknown and seek ways to ensure the most complete understanding and best use for America of one of her great rivers. We wish them luck and hope this report assists them in charting their course.
Steven P. Gloss, Chair