Yellowstone fish bypass deemed best alternative route by ACOE, still needs court approval

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BILLINGS, MT - Good news for those in favor of a fish bypass on the Yellowstone River.

An Impact study from the Army Corps of Engineers says that the proposed bypass is the best alternative out of six.

In addition, U.S. Fish and Wildlife published a biological opinion supporting the bypass, saying it is likely to substantially improve the odds that the endangered pallid sturgeon will survive and recover.

The findings from the Corps will now go back to a judge who issued a preliminary injunction on the project more than a year ago.

"At that point, the judge will decide if he will release the injunction, if he needs a hearing to release the injunction, if he is satisfied with this evidence, and he dismisses the case entirely. That's a long shot - we don't know what the judge will want to do," says James Brower, Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project Manager.

The findings are expected to be sent to the judge Monday, but there might not be a decision until after the holidays.

We reached out to the Montana Defenders of Wildlife for comment, but could not get in touch with anyone.