Thursday, October 24, 2013

Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir – A Case History of Problems in Fish and Wildlife Coordination, Rollin D. Sparrowe

Click on this link to read the entire paper: Truman-Dam-Case-History-Sparrowe-v2

Reprinted from: Transaction of the 42nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, 1977. Published by the Wildlife Management Institute, Washington, DC

This is an excellent summary of the hazards to wildlife that were anticipated for the Harry S. Truman Dam & Reservoir. Dr. Sparrowe also touches on the project’s impact on archaeological and paleontological sites, the controversial pump-storage unit and the ridiculous exaggeration of recreational benefits that accompanied the replacement of 248 miles of free flowing stream with a flat water reservoir. Dr. Sparrowe laments the long standing disregard the Army Corps of Engineers has had for regulations and laws that mandate consideration of and mitigation for fish, wildlife and cultural losses from dam projects. The lawsuit by EDF (Environmental Defense Fund) did produce a massive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which ultimately had no effect on the construction or operation of Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir. As Sparrowe said:

Even under duress of litigation, with repeated careful inputs from agency experts and other citizens, all the years of planning have had little effect on the project, or on prospects for significant mitigation. In a 1973 letter responding to the Final EIS, MDC (Missouri Department of Conservation) acknowledged the so-far unsuccessful attempts to solve the paddlefish and Schell-Osage problems, but concluded that the EIS presents a “lack of commitment to proceed with the evaluation and implementation of procedures and measures necessary to adequately mitigate other fish and wildlife losses.” Likewise, the FWS (Fish and Wildlife Service) review of the 1973 Final EIS concluded that lengthy, extensive efforts at coordination between conservation agencies and the Corps of Engineers to reduce adverse environmental effects of the project have been “essentially a fruitless exercise.”

It clearly appears that agency interactions regarding the HST project under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act have been unsuccessful in providing equal consideration of fish and wildlife values. After 17 years of attempts at coordination and detailed NEPA review, no modifications have been made in plans for project implementation in order to alleviate potential impacts on fish and wildlife resources.



Rollie Sparrowe, PhD, was employed by the Wildlife Research Unit of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the University of Missouri/Columbia during the time of the Truman Dam lawsuit.  He was active in the Missouri chapter of the Wildlife Society, an organization that was a plaintiff in the EDF lawsuit challenging Truman Dam. (Leland Payton photograph, 1972)

Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir – A Case History of Problems in Fish and Wildlife Coordination, Rollin D. Sparrowe