Army Corps begins 'spring pulse' on Missouri River

Monday, May 18, 2009 | 2:53 p.m. CDT; updated 3:56 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 18, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun a "spring pulse" to increase water levels in the Missouri River to help the endangered pallid sturgeon.

Starting Monday, the Army Corps began releasing more water from an upstream dam to replicate what once was a natural occurrence when melting snow caused a heavy flow of water downstream. It's designed encourage the fish to spawn.

It should take 11 days for water levels to increase and dissipate.

But the "pulse" is controversial in Missouri, where farmers fear extra water could flood their fields. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday urged the corps to cancel the pulse, and Attorney General Chris Koster and Rep. Ike Skelton also expressed disappointment.

A pulse planned for March was canceled because of heavy rain.


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