- Sikeston singer moves on with 'The Voice' (10/16/17)
- Police chief, council: Cape Girardeau faces growing gun violence (10/17/17)4
- Politics to profits: Brothers launch new investing concept on Wall Street (10/19/17)1
- Load shift kills Jackson trucker (10/17/17)
- Developer asks court to OK tax district board for improvements near Hobby Lobby (10/17/17)4
- The last person to be laid to rest at Old Lorimier Cemetery: Mary Russell Fox (10/17/17)2
- Cape Christian School burglarized (10/18/17)
- Food Giant in Chaffee is robbed (10/17/17)
- Owner of dinosaur relics demands new board of directors, business plan at Bollinger County Museum (10/17/17)
- Cape's casino flourishing as it celebrates fifth year (10/22/17)3
Report - River should meander freely
WASHINGTON -- The Missouri River should meander freely along some stretches, returning to the conditions that existed before dams and channels created barge traffic routes, the National Research Council said Wednesday.
A more natural flow might entail an end to navigation along portions that are open to towboat traffic, but entire species of birds and fish may disappear without it, the council said.
Dams and channels have straightened the river's loops and meanders over the years, providing flood control and allowing navigation but stopping nearly all of the sediment flow responsible for the nickname "Big Muddy." The Missouri flows 2,341 miles through one-sixth of the country, from Three Forks, Mont., to St. Louis.
Not only did the council's findings hearten environmentalists seeking the changes, they satisfied a recreation and tourism industry that earns tens of millions of dollars from boating and fishing on upriver lakes that would keep more of the river's water in the busy summer season.
Besides benefits to ecology, the economic benefits alone "could justify reforming dam operations to create a spring rise and low summer flows," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat from South Dakota.
The issue is the subject of bitter dispute between upriver and downriver communities and divides otherwise like-minded lawmakers, such as Daschle and House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri.
The recreation industry insists it contributes millions of dollars more to the economy than does navigation, estimated at $87 million versus $7 million. The council agreed.