USA: Officials Invite Comments on Missouri River Restoration Plan

A draft environmental assessment for the restoration of emergent sandbar habitat complexes in the Missouri River (North Dakota) is currently available for public review.

The draft EA evaluates the environmental impacts of removing and preventing vegetation on emergent sandbar habitat located within the Garrison River reach and upper Lake Oahe of the Missouri River between river mile 1381.0 and 1278.0.

This EA is consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1500-1508), the Corps’ regulations for implementing NEPA (33 CFR 325 and Engineering Regulation 200-2-2) and other applicable environmental laws and regulations.

BACKGROUND

In 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion in which the agency found the Corps’ operations on the Missouri River would not likely jeopardize endangered interior least tern and threatened piping plover populations if certain recommendations set forth in the BiOp were implemented.

One of those recommendations is to restore emergent sandbar habitat as nesting habitat for these two species. In accordance with this recommendation, the Corps is proposing to begin vegetation control and removal activities on selected sandbars in 2013 and continue each spring and/or fall, as needed, until the fall of 2017 through the use of aerial and/or ground-based spraying of pre-emergent and/or post-emergent herbicide and mowing.

The public is encouraged to provide comments on the draft environmental assessment during the open comment period from May 13, 2013 to June 14, 2013.

Press Release, May 14, 2013

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