A coalition of conservation organisations have asked a US federal judge to order 'river-friendly' dam operations on the Missouri river this summer.

In May 2003, the groups – American Rivers, Environmental Defense, Izaak Walton League of America, National Wildlife Federation, Iowa Wildlife Federation, Kansas Wildlife Federation, Montana Wildlife Federation, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, North Dakota Wildlife Federation and South Dakota Wildlife Federation – requested a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit filed on 13 February, asking the court to reject the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 2003 operating plan for its six dams and instead order summer river flows urged by federal wildlife scientists for over a decade. The suit is one of nine filed by various parties.

If the groups’ motion is granted, USACE will have to reduce flows in the Missouri river below Gavins Point dam for several weeks this summer. USACE could then raise river levels again on 1 September.

The original suit, filed on 13 February, charges that current dam operations are causing the Missouri river’s ecological collapse and imposing economic hardships on some riverfront communities in violation of three federal laws: the Endangered Species Act, the Flood Control Act of 1944, and the Administrative Procedures Act.