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 River to a more
natural condition, beginning with a project affecting Arrow Rock State Historic Site. On the Mississippi River, where MPA also strongly supports restoration efforts, we favor 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. 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.
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.
Read more about Missouri River Restoration.
Read more about Big Oak Tree and the St. John's/New Madrid Project.
MPA Comments in Support of Habitat Restoration
National Academy of Sciences Report on Missouri River Sediment