Site visits and construction contracts are underway for the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Districts fish bypass. Materials are also being ordered for the project.
The fish bypass was proposed as a way to make the submerged weir that serves 55,000 acres of cropland in Montana and North Dakota with vital water more fish friendly, to try and help the endangered pallid sturgeon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation project ran aground, however, after a suit was filed by Defenders of Wildlife. The environmental group raised questions about the effectiveness of the project, and said it wouldn’t help the pallid sturgeon as much as an open river. The group wanted to install multple pumps to deliver water instead, but federal agencies determined that option would be too costly to be feasible.
The Corps of Engineers has already issued an unlimited notice to proceed to Ames Construction to build the bypass, but the company may not work from April 15 to July 15, due to the pallid sturgeon’s life cycle. Construction not be able to start until July 15, but the company is doing everything else that it can to get ready for that date.