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Novel Mitigation Approach to Streams Impact May Benefit Threatened Niangua Darter
Midwest Region, March 22, 2007
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The Missouri Department of Transportation is in the first phase of developing a Highway 54 loop around the heavily congested Lake of the Ozarks region. As part of Phase I, more than 3,000 feet of streams will be placed in culverts.

Missouri Department of Transportation biologists approached the Missouri Department of Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with a novel idea to meet their mitigation requirements. They would like to consider replacing up to four lower water crossings over the Little Niangua River with free span structures.

The current structures are limiting movements of the federally threatened Niangua darter.

The stream miles expected to be impacted by the construction project are also within Camden County, Missouri. This project idea would help the Transportation Department meet the county and watershed requirements of their mitigation activities.

Much remains to be resolved concerning the feasibility of this idea with regards to state and federal mitigation requirements. Branch Chief for Fish Conservation Joanne Grady accompanied Fish & Wildlife Biologist Rick Hansen of the Missouri Ecological Services Office and Eliodora Chamberlain, PhD, from the EPA to the meeting. 

Grady provided information regarding previously completed Niangua darter passage projects and information about each of the four crossings in question. All four crossings were surveyed by Columbia FRO for their aquatic organism passage impacts in December of 2006.

Rick Hansen is the Fish & Wildlife Service representative on the multi-agency team which reviews mitigation policy including mitigation banks (aquatic and wetland) and in-lieu-fee agreements. He reviews Corps of Engineers 404 permits for stream impact review. This meeting is a fantastic example of partners working within and between agencies to develop new ideas for habitat restoration.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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