Missouri River Conditions Update

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Missouri River Conditions Update

Postby feathhd » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:23 pm

Missouri River Conditions Update

The drought continues to impact the Missouri River Basin. The runoff forecast
for the basin above Sioux City remains below average at a projected 23.1 million
acre feet (MAF) - 91 percent of an average year. The levels in the Missouri
River’s three largest reservoirs, Fort Peck, Garrison and Oahe, are 3 to 9 feet
below their desired operating elevations. The volume of water currently stored
in the reservoir system is several MAF below the base of the flood control and
multiple use zone of 56.1 MAF. Water stored in this multiple use zone is used
by the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) in the operation of the Missouri River
system’s authorized purposes.

Extreme heat and record low rainfall expanded drought conditions from the
eastern Dakotas into western Illinois. Iowa had temperatures over 100 degrees in
late August and about 98 percent of Iowa is in drought. Drought conditions
continue in Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas. The weekly drought monitor shows
nearly 62 percent of the contiguous United States is in some type of drought.

Due to lack of water the ACE plans to implement conservation measures this
winter. Releases from Gavins Point on the South Dakota-Nebraska border near
Yankton will be at minimum levels, averaging 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs)
December through February. When adequate water exists in storage Gavins Point
winter releases average 17,000 cfs.

ACE to Hold Fall Public Meetings on Annual Operating Plan

The ACE is scheduled to hold five public meetings on their 2013-2014 Draft
Annual Operating Plan for the Missouri River System. The meetings will include a
presentation from the ACE regarding 2013 operations and plans for regulating the
reservoir system in 2014. That will be followed by a question and answer
session and public comment period. Two of the meetings are in the tri-state area

Tuesday, October 8th Thursday, October 10th

Nebraska City, NE, 7 p.m. Pierre, SD, 5 p.m.

Lewis and Clark Center Joe Foss Building

100 Valmont Drive 523 East Capitol Avenue

Omaha/Council Bluffs Missouri River Clean-up

This event was held on Saturday, September 7th and was based out of the Lewis &
Clark Marina at Riverfront Park in Omaha. It was coordinated by Missouri River
Relief. I joined over 240 volunteers including crews from the Nebraska Game and
Parks Commission (NGPC), the National Park Service (NPS), ACE, FWS and many
businesses and organizations. This cleanup concentrated on a six mile reach of
the Missouri River in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. The volunteers collected
nearly three tons of trash and debris along the river.

Sioux City Riverfication Educational Event

This first time educational event was held in Sioux City on Friday, September
13th. Nearly 1300 6th grade students from Sioux City and South Sioux City, NE
attended. The kids rotated between presentations on a variety of topics.
Thanks to members of the McCook Lake Chapter for their help in the Ikes’ booth.
We taught the kids about recycling as we had them build bird feeders out of
plastic beverage bottles. We made over 440 feeders during the event.

Siouxland Missouri River Clean up

About 40 volunteers turned out on Saturday, September 14th for the Missouri
River Clean up. The volunteers cleaned up areas along the river in the Sioux
City/South Sioux city area gathering about a half a ton of trash. Thanks to
Kelly Kistner of the McCook Lake Chapter for his help with the event.

Missouri River Outdoor Expo

An estimated crowd of 52,000 people attended the 9th Annual Missouri River
Outdoor Expo at Ponca State Park near Ponca, NE September 21st and 22nd. The
goal of the event is to preserve the future and heritage of natural resources
and outdoor recreation by providing opportunities for everyone to learn skills,
safety, ethics, respect, and stewardship important in the conduct of our outdoor
pursuits. The League has had a booth at this event each of the last 5 years.
Thanks to Ikes from Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa for helping in the booth.
We talked to thousands of people about the League and helped kids and adults
build bird feeders.

Iowa Outdoor Expo

The 5th Annual Iowa Outdoor Expo was held at Water Works Park in Des Moines
September 28th and 29th. The Iowa Division and Des Moines Chapter had a booth
at the event again this year. Members of the division worked hard at the event
and in the booth. We helped kids and adults make bird feeders and handed out
information about the League.

Big Sioux River Summit

On Monday, September 9th I attended the Big Sioux River Water Summit hosted by
Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether. The purpose of the summit was to talk about
ways to improve water quality in the Big Sioux drainage. The city and several
businesses have spent millions of dollars in developments along the river in
hopes of attracting more people and activity to the riverfront. The Big Sioux
does not meet South Dakota standards for designated uses and the river is the
13th dirtiest river in America. The Big Sioux is a tributary of the Missouri

Central SD Water Festival

The SD Discovery Center in Pierre hosted the Central SD Water Festival September
24th. I talked kids about the threat posed by aquatic invasive species in the
Missouri River. The festival was attended by 4th grade students from the
Pierre-Fort Pierre area. I told them they can prevent spreading invasives every
time they come off the water with three simple steps - Clean, Drain and Dry.
The kids took information on invasive species home with them.

Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC)

The committee’s work and task groups continued their assigned duties during
September via conference calls. The groups are preparing proposals for
consideration at the next MRRIC meeting scheduled for early November in Omaha.
The committee is made up of federal, state, tribal and stakeholder
representatives from throughout the basin. MRRIC is a congressionally
authorized committee providing guidance to the ACE and the FWS on the current
Missouri River Recovery Program. The agencies are working to recover three
federally listed species, the pallid sturgeon, least tern, and piping plover,
along the Missouri River. The recovery program is restoring habitat lost due to
man-made alterations and the ACE’s operation of the river. I represent the
League on MRRIC and many of its work and task groups.

Farm Bill Update

The Farm Bill expired September 30th. The Farm Bill funds commodity subsidies,
crop insurance, conservation and energy programs, the national food stamp
program, rural development loans and trade funding. The Senate passed its
version of the bill early last summer. The House passed their version of the
bill cutting approximately 80 percent of the funding for the food stamp program.
It’s not known when debate on the Farm Bill will resume. Contact your
Representative and Senators and urge them to support a Farm Bill that contains
key components such as Conservation Compliance linking conservation to Crop
Insurance Premium Subsidies and a nationwide Sodsaver protecting our nation’s
grassland from conversion to cropland.

SD Rancher Earns National Conservation Honor

The national Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies awarded Jim Faulstich of
Highmore, SD the 2013 National Private Lands Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award
at their recent meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Faulstich operates a profitable 5,300 acre farm/ranch and has invested time and
resources in holistic and grazing management. He focuses on stewardship of our
natural resources. Native and restored grassland and wetlands make up about 80
percent of the Faulstich ranch. Jim is chairman of the South Dakota Grassland
Coalition and is one of the most effective and respected voices for grassland
conservation and grass-based agriculture. Faulstich has part of his ranch set
aside in conservation easements which are critical for waterfowl and shorebirds,
and he cooperates in a variety of wildlife and grassland studies. I have had
the pleasure to know and work with Jim over the years and he is very deserving
of this award. We need more landowners like him!

And finally this item

“Loose” Moose

A Swedish man claims he was accosted by inebriated moose. The man said he was
prevented from entering his house recently by a four adult moose and one calf.
The man said the animals were acting strangely so he called the police. The
police thought the moose were possibly drunk after eating fermented apples on
the property. The moose left before police officers arrived but the officers
advised the homeowner to remove apples lying around his lawn to avoid a repeat
of the encounter. This isn’t the first case of “drunken” moose in Sweden. In
2011 a moose was found intoxicated and trapped in a tree.

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