Big Rivers Restoration

The Missouri Parks Association has taken a leadership role in rallying an array of conservation organizations in support of Corps of Engineers efforts to return the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, along which there are twenty-four state parks and historic sites, to a more natural condition, beginning with a project affecting Jameson Island at Arrow Rock State Historic Site. 

The Missouri River story is a saga of truly Byzantine twists and turns, as misguided attempts to "improve" the river proceeded through the 20th Century. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sought to accommodate farmers, navigation interests, and politicians by providing increased control of the river through levees, revetments, and wing dikes that deepened, narrowed, and stabilized the river channel. Little value was seen in the natural state of the river — meandering through its floodplain, flooding annually, constantly eroding its banks, and carrying more than enough sediment to earn its sobriquet, the Big Muddy. In 2012, MPA rallied conservation organizations to persuade the Missouri Clean Water Commission to rescind a 2007 order declaring sediment a pollutant in the Missouri River, thus breaking a logjam that had prevented Corps of Engineers restoration projects along the entire lower Missouri River, and we have supported numerous restoration projects and plans since then.

On the Mississippi River, where MPA also strongly supports restoration efforts, we support the Corps proposal (in its recently released draft study for the St. John's Bayou/New Madrid Levee Project) for water control structures that would allow park officials to mimic more natural hygrologic cycles in Big Oak Tree State Park, a National Natural Landmark. But MPA strongly opposes the Corps proposal for the New Madrid Levee, which would close the last remaining place in the state where the Mississippi River still has access to its floodplain. It is MPA's understanding that the Corps has both the authority and an obligation to undertake mitigation at Big Oak Tree State Park regardless of the fate of the New Madrid Levee Project

Read more about Missouri River Restoration.

Read more about Big Oak Tree and the St. John's/New Madrid Project.

Read comments in Support of Habitat Restoration at Jameson Island/Arrow Rock.

Read the National Academy of Sciences Report on Missouri River Sediment.

Read MPA letter to CEQ re: New Madrid Levee and Big Oak Tree SP.

Read MPA comments on Missouri River Recovery Plan and EIS (2017).