Building the new chute would involve dredging along the Missouri River. The Corps of Engineers wants to dump the sediment back into the river, a move strongly opposed by farm interests.
Dale Ludwig with the Missouri Soybean Association says up to a million cubic yards of sediment could be dumped into the Missouri River, increasing phosphorus levels”
“If we let common sense be our guide, dumping this amount of soil in a river will have an effect on water quality,” says Ludwing.
Supporters say the process is not only safe, but it would benefit native fish, including the endangered pallid sturgeon.
Susan Flader of the Missouri Parks Association says the soil in question is sediment that’s natural to river bottoms.
“We’re talking about materials that have been deposited, eroded, re-deposited in a natural, dynamic process by the shifting channels of the Missouri River over time,” says Flader.
The project has been on hold for five years because of concerns over sediment dumping. The Missouri Clean Water Commission is scheduled to vote on the issue next month.