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Service Team Continues Outreach on Jameson Island Chute Restoration Project
Midwest Region, June 8, 2007
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On April 9th, Missouri Ecological Services Fish and Wildlife Biologist Jane Ledwin attended a public meeting on the Jameson Island Chute Restoration Project in Arrow Rock, Missouri with representatives from Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (NFWR) and Columbia Fishery Resources Office (FRO).

 

The meeting was held to discuss construction by the Corps of Engineers (COE) of a river chute through Big Muddy NFWR to restore river habitat for the endangered pallid sturgeon and other native fish.  The project has recently generated concern among neighboring landowners regarding potential impacts on the local levee system and water quality.

 

Ledwin presented background information on the Missouri River Biological Opinion, in addition to highlighting the Service’s river restoration and pallid recovery efforts.  Staff from the Columbia FRO provided information on monitoring efforts and fish usage in the project area, noting the river has the highest Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) of pallid sturgeon of all areas sampled. 

 

Tom Bell, Big Muddy NFWR Manager, provided background and clarification of Service land acquisition and management activities specific to the Jameson Island area.  Ledwin encouraged meeting attendants to contact the Service regarding resource questions and contact the Corps of Engineers for effective communication methods to involve the public in the project planning process.

 

As a follow-up to the Arrow Rock meeting, the Service provided testimony in support of the chute project to the Clean Water Commission on May 16, 2007.  Missouri Ecological Services Field Supervisor Charlie Scott provided written comments on the need for the project and involvement of our conservation partners, including the Department of Natural Resources.

 

Scott also engaged the Commission in problem solving efforts and offered to arrange a workshop to discuss the science behind the restoration efforts. Ledwin provided information specific to the pallid sturgeon and the Biological Opinion, as well as a sideboard on the St. Johns/New Madrid project raised by the Commission Chairman.

 

On June 5, the Service coalition again provided critical support for the chute restoration project to a Corps of Engineers media tour highlighting three projects on lands managed by the Big Muddy NFWR.  The Columbia FRO provided biologists to explain their monitoring work along the Missouri River by boat, as well as demonstrate push trawling and setline sampling for approximately 10 media members.

 

Barbara Moran and Tim Haller of the Big Muddy NFWR provided additional water transportation, while providing the media with information on the refuge and their conservation work.  Ledwin of Missouri Ecological Services explained previous Service involvement in Missouri River conservation and the Biological Opinion that catalyzed the current restoration efforts. 

 

Each boat had a Service representative to answer resources questions and explain the Service's role in planning and monitoring these projects.  The media appreciated the Service’s ongoing efforts to share information regarding the Jameson Island chute construction with the community.

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to assist the Corps of Engineers and its conservation partners to work through spoil disposal concerns on restoration projects with the Clean Water Commission, while strengthening its efforts to maintain an open forum of communication with all stakeholders.

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



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