glendive intake diversion dam LYIP reminder

Rocks are moved across a cable system to their place on the Glendive Intake Diversion dam in this file photo. The rock weir generally lies below the water line. This is routine maintenance. Ice floes can knock boulders out of place, or sometimes the river is running too low. The weir helps raise the water levels, allowing some to be diverted into the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project's system, which serves 58,000 acres in the MonDak. 

The news

Site visits and construction contracts are underway for the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Districts fish bypass. Materials are also being ordered for the project.

The background

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.

What’s next

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.

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