News: Corps announces plan for shallow water habitat restoration in Missouri
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District has announced plans to resume Missouri River shallow water habitat restoration efforts in Missouri and has scheduled an open forum public meeting, April 17.
The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Arrow Rock State Historic Site Visitor Center in Arrow Rock, Mo.
The corps’ habitat restoration efforts along the Missouri River are currently ongoing in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska but were voluntarily halted in 2007 when concerns about sediment placement in the river were raised by the Missouri Clean Water Commission.
To address these concerns the corps enlisted the National Academies to conduct an independent study of sediment issues on the Missouri River. The National Academies completed their report in 2011, and the corps has incorporated the findings from that report, along with site specific and programmatic water quality information, into a Project Implementation Report on the Jameson Island Unit Shallow Water Habitat Restoration Project. The PIR was released to the public, March 30.
Todd Gemienhardt, a corps limnologist stated “The corps has worked closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a report that fully addresses the concerns of the Missouri Clean Water Commission and demonstrates that the proposed project is in full compliance with the Clean Water Act. The corps also sent draft reports to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation to obtain comments on the water quality sections of the report.”
The report notes that to date the corps’ water quality monitoring efforts have not identified any project related harm to aquatic life.
Shallow water habitat on the Missouri River was greatly reduced by the construction of the corps’ Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project. These habitat losses have lead to severe declines in native fish and wildlife populations and the listing of the pallid sturgeon and interior least tern as endangered species and the piping plover as a threatened species. In a 1981 study it was estimated that from 1912-2003 the BSNP resulted in the loss of 522,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat on the lower 735 miles of the Missouri River. Missouri alone lost 304,900 acres of fish and wildlife habitat including 55,800 acres of aquatic habitat.
David Hoover, a corps’ biologist said, “Shallow water habitat restoration increases a type of habitat that was greatly reduced when the corps constructed the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project. While that project continues to provide great social and economic benefits it has come at the expense of our native fish and wildlife populations. The habitat restoration efforts undertaken by the corps as part of the Missouri River Recovery Program help ensure the long-term sustainability of our native fish and wildlife populations while maintaining the social and economic benefits associated with the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project and Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System.”
The Jameson Island Unit Shallow Water Habitat Restoration Project is a component of the Corps’ overall MRRP. The Corps is working cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge on their existing public land to mitigate a portion of the diverse aquatic habitat that was lost as a result of the construction of the corps’ BSNP by restoring SWH through construction of a side channel chute and a backwater.
The project is located on the refuge’s Jameson Island Unit, on the right descending bank of the Missouri River, near river miles 210.5 to 211.7, near the town of Arrow Rock, Saline County, Missouri. The project would restore 30 acres of SWH (27-acre chute and 3-acre backwater) and the dynamic river processes which maintain it for the benefit of native fish and wildlife species, including the endangered pallid sturgeon.
Hoover noted, “There seems to be a lot of misconceptions as to why the Corps restores shallow water habitat along the Missouri River. Shallow water habitat restoration efforts not only assist in achieving SWH acreage metrics of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2003 Amendment to the 2000 Biological Opinion, but also contribute towards meeting the fish and wildlife habitat mitigation goals of the corps’ Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Project.”
The corps must also develop its habitat restoration projects so they do not conflict with the existing project purposes for the Missouri River.
“Careful consideration must be given to the adjacent navigation channel and nearby flood risk management projects (levees) during the design of the shallow water habitat. We design the chutes so that the amount of water diverted from the channel will not impede navigation,” said Zach White, an engineer in the corps’ river engineering section. “In addition, we’ve been coordinating with the Howard County Levee Districts to address their request that the existing chute outlet be diverted with the chute lengthened and a new outlet constructed further downstream.”
For additional information on the proposed project or the public meeting you should contact the Corps of Engineers Project Manager at 816-389-3019. A Public Notice and DRAFT Project Implementation Report are available on the Corps’ website at: www.nwk.usace.army.mil/regulatory/CurrentPN/currentnotices.htm. Comments on the proposed project can be submitted to the corps on the project until close of business April 29, 2012.
Date Posted:04.11.2012 09:53
Location:KANSAS CITY, MO, US
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