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Trump once again floats the idea of being president beyond two terms. Also on the Monday rundown: A new national report ranks children's well-being, from coast to coast; and a Family Care Act gains support.

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Conservation Group Fights to Save Endangered Sturgeon

Conservation groups are fighting to remove a dam in Southeastern Montana in order to save the endangered pallid sturgeon. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Conservation groups are fighting to remove a dam in Southeastern Montana in order to save the endangered pallid sturgeon. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
February 10, 2016

GLENDIVE, Mont. - The public has a little over a week left to offer opinions about the fight to save an ancient species of fish from localized extinction on the Yellowstone River in Southeastern Montana.

The endangered pallid sturgeon has survived for millennia, and individual fish can live 60 years, but biologists say the fish haven't been able to reproduce in the wild for decades, because the Intake Dam near Glendive blocks the path upstream to their spawning ground.

Steve Forrest, senior representative for the Rockies and Plains program for the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife, says the dam should be removed.

"The operations of the dams clearly inhibit the ability of the sturgeon to reproduce in the modern world," says Forrest.

It is estimated only 125 adult wild-bred pallid sturgeon still exist. The Intake Dam was built in 1907 and supplies water to several hundred farms, growing mostly sugar beets and barley.

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers first proposed a ramp then abandoned that idea and are now looking at building a new, higher concrete dam and digging a side channel for the fish.

But Forrest says the sturgeon have a history of rejecting man-made solutions.

"They ought to just take the dam out and put in pumps," he says. "That provides full river access for the sturgeon. It's complicated. But, for an endangered species, it's worth it."

The public comment period ends on Feb. 18. The agencies will then produce a draft environmental impact statement in July.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MT