Judge says environmental groups failed to prove there were practical alternatives to the $59 million dam serving farmers in western North Dakota and eastern Montana.
The fish are cut off from their spawning grounds by a wood-and-rock irrigation dam in eastern Montana. They now number about 125 wild fish, and U.S. government officials have acknowledged that the species could go extinct if action isn’t taken.
In 10 years of collecting broodstock, 1,633 pallid sturgeon have been sampled.
For decades, pallid sturgeon have been prevented from reaching hundreds of miles of upstream spawning habitat because of an existing rock weir at the proposed dam site.
But it has led to a lawsuit from a group of farmers, individuals and business owners, who claim the Corps’ changes have contributed to flooding, erosion and higher groundwater tables