U.S. agency wins fight over Yellowstone River dam, endangered pallid sturgeon

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

A federal judge has rejected claims that a long-stalled irrigation dam on the Yellowstone River would doom an endangered fish species that dates to the time of dinosaurs.

Judge Brian Morris said environmental groups failed to prove there were practical alternatives to the $59 million dam serving farmers in western North Dakota and eastern Montana.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Jamie Danesi said Tuesday construction bids on the government-sponsored dam are due Aug. 16.

It would include a fish passage for about 125 pallid sturgeon to reach upstream spawning grounds that they’ve been separated from for decades.

Morris had twice put the dam on hold after opponents said there was no proof the bypass would help sturgeon. An appeals court overruled him in April.

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