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They heard us! Iowa grants conditional approval to MO River habitat project

MO River Restoration Program_Little Sioux Bend Chute
Thanks to all who spoke up to support of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Missouri River restoration and mitigation efforts to restore and protect native species and wildlife habitat along the Missouri River.

Proponents achieved a victory in early September when the Iowa DNR announced conditional certification to the USACE regarding the proposed shallow water habitat project at the Little Sioux Bend segment of the Missouri River.

A statement by Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp said, “We strongly believe that we have found a way for these projects to be comleted in the right way – a way that reinforces the State of Iowa’s focus on flood control and nutrient reduction.”

Read the Iowa DNR news release, September 10, 2013.

Read the Iowa DNR letter to the USACE providing conditional certification, September 10, 2013.

To thank the Governor or Iowa agencies for supporting vital efforts to protect and restore Iowa’s environment, contact:

→Governor Terry Branstad: http://www.governor.iowa.gov/contact/
→IA DNR, Kevin Baskins:  kevin.baskins@dnr.iowa.gov
→IDALS Director, Bill Northey:  http://www.billnorthey.com/contact.php

Background

Iowa Rivers Revival supports the efforts of the USACE to continue restoration and mitigation projects that will re-establish wildlife habitat to protect endangered and native species in the Missouri River Valley.

→These chute restoration projects would re-introduce at least a semblance of channel diversity in a small area of the river.
→Straightening the Missouri River helped farming in the river valley, but was a disaster for fish and wildlife habitat.
→Restoration of some channel diversity is badly needed for native fish species and is being done without adverse impacts on farming.

USACE shallow water restoration projects improve water quality and the function and value of the Missouri River.

→Nutrient (Nitrogen and Phosphorus) concentrations do not increase downstream of chutes after construction, and have little to no impact on nutrients contributing to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.
→The benefits of these ecosystem restoration projects greatly outweigh the insignificant levels (0.01% or less of the Missouri and Mississippi River nutrient loads), in fact these restoration projects could help reduce these loads and improve current water quality conditions.
→The USACE has also conducted studies determining that sediment dispersal does not impact flood stages.

Iowa’s land and waters have multiple values – including economic and recreational incentives for Iowans and tourists to enjoy and engage in our outdoors.

→The restoration efforts not only provides critical habitat  for endangered and native species, it also provides healthy, quality of life opportunities that will attract and retain young Iowans, helping to boost our local economies

Other helpful links:

IRR’s Letter to Governor Branstad
Missouri River Restoration at Issue (by:  Susan Flader, Missouri Parks Association)
Missouri River Recovery Program
Back to the River, Inc., Testimony in support of USACE restoration projects

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