Several studies related to sediment in the Missouri River are underway. A report was released September 28, 2010 from the National Research Council (NRC) based on the work of the Committee on Missouri Recovery and Associated Sediment Management Issues. NRC Sediment Report This National Academy of Science NRC committee was established in July 2008, at the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to address a series of questions designed to help understand the role and significance of sediment in the Missouri River and how it relates to the adequacy of the Corps’ management strategies and restoration tools. This study was largely precipitated by concerns and action by the Missouri Clean Water Commission regarding techniques used by the USACE during construction of several Missouri River Recovery Program projects in the State of Missouri that involve the discharge of sediment into the river. As a result, work on several MRRP projects in Missouri has been halted until the study is complete. The Academies’ website includes information about the makeup of the committee, its meetings and the specific questions to be addressed: website
In general, the overall sediment issue relates to the impact of the historical changes in sediment in the Missouri River, as a result of various projects and man’s activities. Much of the historic sediment load of the “Big Muddy” is accumulating in the large upstream reservoirs on the Mainstem River, as well as the smaller tributary reservoirs throughout the basin, thereby shortening their life. The reduction of sediment by various activities may be contributing to river bed degradation, how the river functions and potentially impacts recovery and ecosystem restoration efforts.
Regional Sediment Management (RSM) in the Missouri River Basin by the USACE includes a number of components. It recognizes sediment as a resource and attempts to provide a system wide approach. It includes Corps activities related to: navigation channel maintenance, ecosystem restoration, flood control, hydro system operations, ESA species recovery actions and regulatory actions. Various USACE studies are underway. In the Kansas City District, these include the Missouri River Degradation study and the Missouri River Commercial Dredging Environmental Impact Study. In the Omaha District, these include the Lewis and Clark Lake Sediment Management Study and the Niobrara River Basin Study, among others. A description of RSM and more about the various studies can be viewed in a presentation: Presentation Regional Sediment Management (Stark / Boyd)