Saving the Sturgeon
A Boone County farmer did just that. Columbia resident Bob Kennish grew up in poverty after his parents lost their farmland when he was young. Kennish grew up knowing he wasn't going to lose land the way his parents did. In addition to his job, he had a hobby: buying farmland. Kennish recently sold some of his land along the Missouri River. Just how much depends on how high or how low the river is.
"When the river washes the land below the normal level, the normal high water level, then it belongs to the government," Kennish said. The part that belongs to the federal government is set aside to help an endangered species.
The government is interested in it for the pallid sturgeon. The fish is one of the oldest species in Missouri. As bottom feeders, the sturgeon help keep the river clean. The species is on the endangered list, and few still exist. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Department, there are only 1,600 sturgeon left in the country, and only about 300 in Missouri. Kennish says the Army Corps of Engineers will soon use his old land to conduct research on ways to save the pallid sturgeon, but he hopes area residents will enjoy it too.
"It's also something that conservation is going to use and help with for families and people who want to picnic, want to camp on the river, want to hunt," Kennish explained. With his old land used to save fish and also used for recreation, Bob Kennish feels very rich indeed.