Managing the Big Muddy
Bill Lay is one of many landowners near the river who's worried about his future.
"We can't afford to lose a crop every 2-3 years just because they think it might be good for somebody."
Lay referred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In March, the Corps will release water into the river from upstream reservoirs in North and South Dakota.
But, that release could flood Lay's farm, which lies along the river, on Junction E near Fayette. The Corps of Engineers said in a phone interview raising the river level from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota to Omaha, Neb., will increase production of the pallid sturgeon, an endangered fish.
Lay said, "There is no assurance that this is going to work. They are just going to try it and, if it doesn't work, they will stop it. But, by that time, there will be a lot of folks out of the farming business."
If the March releases raises river levels too much, the Corps of Engineers said it will stop the procedure to prevent downstream flooding.