By Kristin Perry
According to the USDA, it takes a thousand years to create one inch of soil.
Missouri leads the nation in soil conservation efforts. Since 1984, the citizens of Missouri have taxed themselves with a soil and water conservation tax. The last time Missouri voted on it, this tax passed with a resounding 70 percent.
The Missouri soil and water conservation tax totals about 40 to 48 million dollars a year. According to a recent article, Missouri's soils conservation tax has saved 148 million tons of Missouri's soil over 28 years.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has renewed its efforts to build shallow water habitat by digging large channels along the Missouri River. The channels are miles long, two hundred feet wide and 25 feet deep. The opposition is not aimed at the projects, the opposition is to the fact that the Corps wants to dump the excavated soil from these construction projects directly into the Missouri River.
This Corps has issued a proposal to build a second chute at Jameson Island. But the proposal to dump the soil is not just about Jameson Island and an additional 30 acres of soil. This is the beginning of the Corps second assault on Missouri's soil resources. Altogether, the Corps has indicated it plans to dump 60,000 acres of soil, five feet deep. That's 822 million tons of soil. That is a magnitude of five and a half times more than all of the soil that Missouri's tax has saved.
Sediment is a pollutant under the Clean Water Act. Missouri citizens know it is against the law to dump soil into the river. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have enforced harsh fines against our citizens for letting sediment run into our rivers.