The Missouri River is one of the longest and most complex rivers in the world. Historically the river hosted a vast wetland ecosystem built upon an interwolven and sinuous channel that would split and reconnect across a wide floodplain. This system has been completely redefined through a century of river modifications designed to facilitate navigation (barges), agriculture, urban sprawl, hydroelectric power, recreational lakes, and water reservoirs.There are myriad impacts from the intensive changes to the river and the watershed, Wetlands throughout the Missouri River basin have been drained and converted to agriculture, the channel has been narrowed into one artificially deepend path for the river to follow.
Missouri River helped build Louisiana coast, but it won't help restore it
Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune
September 29, 2012 - The Missouri, the Mississippi's longest tributary, drains a huge watershed in the western United States and Canada; historically, it was responsible for delivering about half the mud that wound up in southeastern Louisiana.
But dramatic human changes to the Missouri and its tributaries make it unlikely that it will be possible to restore the levels of sediment that the Missouri transported into the Mississippi River before 1900, building Louisiana's rich wetlands.
Before 1900, the Missouri and Mississippi rivers transported an estimated 400 million metric tons of sediment a year from the upper Midwest to coastal Louisiana, the report said. They now carry less than half that.