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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management MISSOURI RIVER PLANNING Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management Committee on Missouri River Recovery and Associated Sediment Management Issues Water Science and Technology Board Division of Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by U.S. Department of the Army under Contract No. W912DQ-08-D-0041. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization or agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-16203-6 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-16203-3 The cover photo shows the mouth of the Niobrara River as it empties into Lewis and Clark Lake, the reservoir behind Gavins Point Dam, near Yankton, South Dakota. The Niobrara is a major sediment contributor to the reservoir, as illustrated by the sharp boundary between turbid Niobrara water and clear Missouri River water across the bottom of the image. The islands are the upper surface of the reservoir headwaters delta. Photo courtesy of William L. Graf, University of South Carolina. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.nationalacademies.org
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management COMMITTEE ON MISSOURI RIVER RECOVERY AND ASSOCIATED SEDIMENT MANAGEMENT ISSUES LEONARD A. SHABMAN, Chair, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC THOMAS DUNNE, University of California, Santa Barbara DAVID L. GALAT, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia, Missouri WILLIAM L. GRAF, University of South Carolina, Columbia ROLLIN H. HOTCHKISS, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah W. CARTER JOHNSON, South Dakota State University, Brookings PATRICIA F. MCDOWELL, University of Oregon, Eugene ROBERT H. MEADE, U.S. Geological Survey (emeritus), Evergreen, Colorado ROGER K. PATTERSON, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles NICHOLAS PINTER, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale SUJOY B. ROY, Tetra Tech, Inc., Lafayette, California DONALD SCAVIA, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor SANDRA B. ZELLMER, University of Nebraska, Lincoln National Research Council Staff JEFFREY JACOBS, Study Director ANITA A. HALL, Senior Program Associate
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD DONALD I. SIEGEL, Chair, Syracuse University, New York LISA M. ALVAREZ-COHEN, University of California, Berkeley MARK M. BRINSON, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina YU-PING CHIN, Ohio State University, Columbus OTTO C. DOERING III, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana GERALD E. GALLOWAY, University of Maryland, College Park GEORGE R. HALLBERG, The Cadmus Group, Watertown, Massachusetts KENNETH R. HERD, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brooksville GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee MICHAEL J. MCGUIRE, Michael J. McGuire, Inc., Santa Monica, California DAVID H. MOREAU, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill DENNIS D. MURPHY, University of Nevada, Reno MARYLYNN V. YATES, University of California, Riverside Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director JEFFREY JACOBS, Scholar LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Staff Officer LAURA J. HELSABECK, Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Senior Program Associate ANITA A. HALL, Senior Program Associate MICHAEL STOEVER, Research Associate SARAH BRENNAN, Project Assistant
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management Preface The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built many of the dams and bank control structures that now control Missouri River hydrology and geomorphology. Operations of these projects, in conjunction with projects built by other entities, provide many benefits, including moderation of flood flows that allow human activity in once flood-prone areas, reliable supplies of hydroelectric power and water supply for rural and urban areas, a reliable commercial navigation channel, and extensive water-based recreation opportunities. Recent attention to the status of, and protection for, three endangered species has focused attention on a need to better understand the river’s altered sedimentary processes and how these processes might be best managed in the interests of species recovery. Meanwhile, changes to sedimentary processes and river geomorphology threaten some benefits currently enjoyed by basin residents and water-related and other infrastructure along the river, and have been associated with the loss of wetlands along the Gulf coast. In response to a request from the Corps of Engineers, the National Academies convened a committee to address seven questions related to Missouri River sediment. The topics covered by the questions ranged from a general overview of past and present sediment processes to how current habitat construction projects and other sediment management alternatives might support species recovery and affect local water quality, as well as land-building processes and water quality in the Gulf of Mexico. The committee thoroughly considered each question in its deliberations and spent a good deal of time discussing its consensus responses to them. Beyond specific findings and recommendations, two cross-cutting themes are reflected throughout this report.
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management First, understanding sedimentary processes, and the actions that affect those processes, are increasingly important for Missouri River management. Although ongoing studies are being conducted, there is a need to strengthen and synchronize historical and contemporary databases, while at the same time make management decisions under uncertain conditions. This report’s findings and recommendations thus frequently stress the need for improved monitoring and data collection, more rigorous interpretation, and analysis and openness to learning over time even while decisions are made with limited understanding of the system. Second, the committee was attentive to the roles and responsibilities of technical analysts to inform, but not dictate, decisions made in the public choice process. The report’s final chapter (7) offers perspectives on the role of the science community in future policy decisions on river management. The committee acknowledges the National Research Council and its staff from the Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB) for their steadfast efforts in organizing the committee’s activities during and between meetings throughout the study process. Their assistance has been tireless and always cheerfully given. In particular, we appreciate the efforts of our study director, Jeffrey Jacobs, to debate and challenge the arguments being made, then carefully edit the committee’s numerous and extensive draft reports. WSTB senior program associate Anita Hall expertly attended to administrative, logistics, and financial details of our meetings and assisted with editorial and related publications responsibilities. We are grateful to the many individuals who shared their time and insights with this committee. Appendix A lists invited guest speakers at the committee’s open, public meetings. The views of our invited speakers were complemented nicely by literally dozens of interested and active citizens who offered their comments during our public comment sessions. Our committee benefitted greatly in hearing from all of our speakers, each of whom had unique points of view and backgrounds that were important in contributing to our collective understanding of today’s important scientific and public policy issues along the Missouri River. This report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with the procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the NRC in making its published report as sound as possible, and to ensure that the report meets NRC institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following for their review of this report: Jim Best, University of Illinois; Patrick L. Brezonik, University of Minnesota; Martin W.
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management Doyle, University of North Carolina; Charles G. Groat, University of Texas; Matt Kondolf, University of California; Nancy N. Rabalais, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium; A. Dan Tarlock, Chicago-Kent College of Law; and Peter R. Wilcock, Johns Hopkins University. Although these reviewers provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions and recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Kenneth W. Potter, University of Wisconsin, who was appointed by the NRC Division on Earth and Life Studies. Dr. Potter was responsible for ensuring that an independent examination of this report was conducted in accordance with NRC institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for this report’s final contents rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC. Leonard A. Shabman, Chair
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 13 2 CHANGES IN MISSOURI RIVER SEDIMENT AND RELATED PROCESSES 19 Sources of Missouri River Sediments, 21 Sediment Erosion, Transport, and Deposition, 22 Hydrologic and Geomorphic Changes to the Missouri River, 26 Changes to Missouri River Ecology, 41 Data for Evaluating Missouri River Sediment Dynamics, 44 Summary, 48 3 MISSOURI RIVER GOVERNANCE: INSTITUTIONS, LAWS, AND POLICIES FOR MANAGING SEDIMENT AND RELATED RESOURCES 51 Missouri River Management, the Corps of Engineers, and Shared Decision Making, 53 New Studies, New Organizations, Changing Responsibilities, 60 The Clean Water Act, State Water Quality Rules, and Sediment, 64 Summary, 66
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Missouri River Planning: Recognizing and Incorporating Sediment Management 4 SEDIMENT AND CURRENT ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION ACTIVITIES 67 Adaptive Management Along the Missouri River, 68 Emergent Sandbar and Shallow Water Habitat Projects, 73 Summary, 84 5 SEDIMENT MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVES AND OPPORTUNITIES 88 Missouri River Sediment Reintroduction Alternatives, 89 Missouri River Sediment Management and Louisiana Wetland Building, 98 Summary, 101 6 WATER QUALITY AND MISSOURI RIVER SEDIMENT MANAGEMENT 103 Potential Water Quality Effects in the Gulf of Mexico, 104 Missouri River Sediment Management Actions and Implications for Nutrient Loadings, 109 Water Quality Criteria for Sediment and Nutrients, 115 Summary, 122 7 SCIENCE, POLICY, AND FUTURE DECISION MAKING ALONG THE MISSOURI RIVER 124 Trade-off Choices and Resource Limits, 125 Science and Decision Making, 126 REFERENCES 129 APPENDIXES A Guest Speakers at Committee Meetings 143 B Acronyms 145 C Biographical Information: Committee on Missouri Rive47 Recovery and Associated Sediment Management Issues 151