I’m a Sportsmen and fully support the issuance of the Water Quality permit for the creation of new Shallow Water Habitat (SWH) on the Little Sioux Bend of the Missouri River.
The proposed Little Sioux Bend project would create a flow through chute connected to the main channel of the Missouri River. The project would create about 19 acres of badly needed Shallow Water Habitat (SWH) with the potential of a total of 33 acres once the chute matures and reaches its desired width. Other project features include large woody debris structures that will also provide needed habitat. The project will be constructed entirely within a 190-acre parcel of land owned by the Corps of Engineers.
This project would be constructed in response to the amended Biological Opinion which requires restoration of 20 percent of the SWH that existed prior to the construction of the Missouri River BSNP to benefit the endangered pallid sturgeon and other native fish species. This mitigates for the operation of the Missouri River reservoir system, the operation and maintenance of the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project (BSNP), and operation of the Kansas River reservoir system.
Studies show 51 of 67 native fish species in the lower Missouri River are described as “rare or declining”. Without habitat construction projects, such as the Little Sioux Bend project more species are likely to end up on the threatened and endangered species list, further complicating operations and functions of the Missouri River for this and future generations.
Shallow water habitat projects are critical to mitigate for the loss of fish habitat. Unless we establish more diverse habitats such as backwaters, chutes and side channels, our native fish, especially the pallid sturgeon, will not be able to successfully reproduce. Research conducted by biologist shows native fish species need many different water levels in their life cycle. This project, and others like it including Wilson Island and De Soto Bend SWH, will begin to restore some of the diverse habitat that once existed on the lower Missouri River.
Another benefit of this and other habitat project is the economic benefits that come from a river that is more than a uniform channel. Recreation is an economic engine waiting to be turned on along the Missouri River in Iowa and Nebraska. In fact, the Nebraska Legislature unanimously created a new department, called the Nebraska Tourism Commission, to help diversify Nebraska’s agriculture economy by promoting the broad field of tourism last year. Habitat development on the river will benefit all native fish and wildlife species and provide great year-round recreational opportunities for families in the region, Yankton, Sioux City, Omaha, Council Bluffs, Nebraska City, and all areas in-between, contribute to creating a massive economic impact to area business and local tax revenues.
SWH projects have been constructed by Omaha District of the Corps since 1997. The Corps has already received water quality certification from the states of Iowa and Nebraska for over 20 projects.
Information gathered from those projects shows sediment disposal does not significantly affect flood stages on the river.
As a Sportsmen I believe it is vitally important to issue the needed water quality permits and allow these habitat construction projects to proceed. Time is running out for many native species along the Missouri River. We can still do what is needed to save them and in turn also have a healthier, more productive river that will provide benefits to the entire basin and all of its inhabitants. Denial of water quality permits now could very well mean that when the Sioux City marina silts in in the future, more expensive disposal methods will have to be funded rather than allowing for hydrologic dredging as a best management practice. This aspect could very well apply to many other towns and cities along the river in Iowa or Nebraska.
As an Iowa Sportsmen I wish to Request that the Governor Appoint Representatives from the Iowa IDNR Fish & Wildlife Division to MRRIC and all other sub committees in association to the Mo. River Restoration & Recovery process so that Iowa's Sportsmen s Interests and Natural Resource interest are Represented. At this time, Iowa does not have anyone from the IDNR Fish & Wildlife Division representing the interest of our related Natural Resources in said process.
Thank you for your time and consideration and for allowing me to provide these comments on behalf of our Natural Resources and the Mo. River.
Please send your Letter folks because we Only have until July 8th as Sportsmen to make a Difference.
* Governor Terry Branstad:
* IA DNR, Kevin Baskins:
* Senator Chuck Grassley http://www.grassley.senate.gov/contact/contact.cfm
* Senator Tom Harkin http://www.harkin.senate.gov/contact.cfm
* Representative Tom Lathum https://latham.house.gov/contact/con...htm?zip5=51108
IDNR Director Chuck Gipp firstname.lastname@example.org