by Matthew Brown Associated Press
BILLINGS (AP) — A federal judge has blocked construction of a dam planned along the Yellowstone River near the Montana-North Dakota border over worries that it could harm an endangered fish population.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to do adequate environmental studies before deciding to move ahead with the $59 million irrigation project northeast of Glendive, Montana.
Pallid sturgeon was listed as an endangered species in 1990. Believed to date to the days when Tyrannosaurus Rex walked the Earth, the fish has declined sharply during the past century as dams were built along the Missouri River system.
Corps officials had argued a bypass channel around the proposed dam near Glendive would allow sturgeon to access upstream spawning grounds that they have not been able to reach for decades.
The dam would replace an existing rock weir used to divert water for an irrigation system that serves almost 400 farms totaling more than 50,000 acres of cropland in Montana and North Dakota.
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Source: Associated Press
by Tim Evanson