This is what several environmental groups are saying.

Remove the intake dam on the Yellowstone River and pump the water.

Pumping options would require new electrical generation that could create 18-20 million pounds of carbon pollution every year.

The dam removal would result in a significant impact on the LYIP users by doubling their operation and maintenance costs, rendering it economically unviable, therefore the open-river alternatives cannot be implemented, it would have a huge impact on the entire lower Yellowstone Valley and most businesses in several towns in the valley.

The intake diversion dam has been supplying irrigation water to 56,000 acres for 108 years to many third and fourth generation family farms that grow corn, sugar beets, alfalfa, wheat, barley and beans.

The endangered species act to save the pallid sturgeon and annual rock replacement of the original wood dam or weir is why the LYIP has approved the preferred plan of the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Fish and Game to replace the dam with a new weir that will raise the water level to free-flow with the fish screens and into the irrigation canal and to install a fish bypass channel.

The Yellowstone is not the longest “undammed river” in the United States, as it is often described. Diversion dams are in the river at six sites between Billings and Sidney and were built several decades ago to provide water for crop irrigation.

Dale Danielson

commissioner, Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project