GREAT FALLS – About 150 people from eastern Montana were in Great Falls on Thursday for a federal court hearing about the Lower Yellowstone River intake dam.
Since 1909 the project has provided water for more than 58,000 acres of farmland.
An animal-rights advocacy group called the Defenders Of Wildlife, who are the plaintiffs, are fighting to save the wild pallid sturgeon, which has the Lower Yellowstone dam’s future in question.
During the hearing, the plaintiffs said that the project does not have adequate recovery specifications.
They also stated that there is nothing to support the claim that the pallid sturgeon population will improve after the bypass is built.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers states that the plaintiffs are misleading the court.
The defendants pointed out that there are numerous pages where recovery is talked about in the biological opinion.
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks concluded that the bypass channel will help increase reproduction more than the natural channel that is there now.
The defendants also argued that the plaintiffs have not brought any new evidence since this case was heard in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Judge Brian Morris has not yet ruled on the case.