(Posted Fri. Oct 23rd, 2015)
The National Corn Growers Association took part in a two-day tour organized by the River Resources Action Team to examine a variety of regulatory, ecosystem and river-based transportation issues on the Mississippi River this week. NCGA National Corn Yield Contest and Sustainability Manager Rachel Orf participated in the activities, which included a floating barge tour with multiple site visits and presentations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state department of natural resources representatives and staff from the Upper Mississippi River Basic Association, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Audubon Society.
“There was a wide array of topics covered, and we discussed many of the issues impacting growers and river transportation at length,” said Orf. “It was a deep dive in terms of the way in which we addressed the number of ecosystem and infrastructure issues impacting this vital waterway. Given the incredible importance of the Mississippi in grain transport, the health of both the river and its infrastructure plays a vital role in maintaining profitability for an incredible number of our nation’s farmers.”
Orf noted a fascinating update on the Biological Opinion Program’s Pallid Sturgeon Research and Monitoring project during which participants had the chance to see an actual specimen in its habitat. The pallid sturgeon, which was placed on the endangered species list in 1990, is monitored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By setting trout lines from October through December, the service catches the sturgeon to collect biological information and information on their life history, habitat requirements and population numbers. This species, which dates back to the time of the dinosaurs, still poses many research questions to scientists.