Rock Island Ecological Services Office
Midwest Region

FISH AND WILDLIFE INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE


DRAFT 04/29/93

GOALS FOR MANAGEMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES

AND HABITAT REHABILITATION AND ENHANCEMENT

FOR POOLS 11-22

The Upper Mississippi River Management Act of 1986 was enacted "to ensure the coordinated development and enhancement of the Upper Mississippi River System." The Act declared that it is the intent of Congress "to recognize that system as a nationally significant ecosystem and a nationally significant commercial navigation system. Congress further recognizes that the system provides a diversity of opportunities and experiences. The system shall be administered and regulated in recognition of its several purposes." The Act specifically recommends several programs. The are a) habitat rehabilitation and enhancement, b) long-term resource monitoring, c) computerized inventory and analysis system, d) recreation projects and economic analysis, and e) navigation traffic monitoring. A second lock at Lock and Dam 26 (Replacement) is also authorized. This report will address the habitat rehabilitation and enhancement program (HREP) for pools 11 through 22 (Guttenberg, Iowa to Saverton, Missouri).

BACKGROUND

As stated in the Master Plan, "the Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Program would consist of numerous enhancement efforts aimed at the implementation of techniques to preserve, protect, and restore habitat that is deteriorating due to natural and man-induced activities. The enhancement effort would extend for a ten-year period in order to adequately evaluate and understand the effectiveness of techniques and measures being applied to protect, enhance, or rehabilitate habitat." The Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA) has recommended that the following eligibility criteria be used to develop and select habitat rehabilitation and enhancement projects:

*Projects must meet the defined program objectives of:

a) protecting, restoring, or improving fish and wildlife habitat that has deteriorated, is threatened, or will be threatened as a result of human-induced or natural impacts;

b) assuring that adverse impacts on the fish and wildlife resource of the river system are avoided

c) address structural and non structural measures for environmental enhancement through long-term resource monitoring efforts and available documents;

d) address first solutions related to navigation impacts including navigation traffic and operation and maintenance of the navigation system;

e) address second other human-induced impacts not related to navigation, and;

f) address last naturally occurring impacts.

* Projects must be located along the main channel, side channel, backwaters, or mouth of tributaries within the UMRS.

* Projects must provide public benefits and be sponsored by a federal, state, or local governmental agency.

* Projects must not involve rehabilitation of facilities for which maintenance is or could be provided under existing federal or state programs unless additional habitat benefits can be demonstrated.

* Projects which include the following characteristics should be encouraged:

a) minimal operation and maintenance costs,

b) minimal land acquisition,

c) auxiliary benefits to navigation or water quality

The above will be used by the states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in selecting projects to be submitted to the Corps of Engineers. However, the Corps are selecting projects first according to need and efficacy of the proposed project, and secondly, according to what we might be able to learn from it. The have also stated that reality demands consideration of factors such as geographic dispersion and readiness to proceed. Further the Corps of Engineers' General Plan for the Environmental Management Program states that applicable techniques are backwater dredging, dike and levee construction, island construction, bank stabilization, side channel openings/closures, wing and closing dam modifications, aeration and water control systems, waterfowl nesting cover, and acquisition of wildlife lands. The Corps does not specifically endorse as HREP projects pool level management, altering the navigation channel, tow operation restrictions, change in dredging practices, floating breakwaters, or improved fleeting design because they fall outside their conventional activities. However, the Corps has recently acknowledged that these innovative measures might result in long-term protection of UMRS habitat. Therefore, proposed projects which include such measures will not be categorically excluded from consideration, but the policy and technical feasibility of each of these measures will be investigated on a case-by-case basis and recommended only after consideration of system wide effects.

The act authorizes appropriations of $124.6 million. The Corps of Engineers has requested that the five state conservation agencies of the UMRs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service submit potential habitat rehabilitation and enhancement projects for funding. However, this piecemeal-like submission process ignores a major objective of Congress to manage the UMRS as an ecosystem. It is in this regard the Fish and Wildlife Interagency Committee has become involved.

ROLE OF FWIC

As recommended by GREAT II, the Fish and Wildlife Interagency Committee (FWIC) is to provide coordination regarding fish and wildlife matters associated with physical river modifications and river management studies and investigations. In light of this charge, the FWIC decided that their role in the HREP is to integrate ecosystem management into the project selection process. Their first task was to define fish and wildlife management objectives for Pools 11 through 22 and identify potential management objectives in these pools. This information was then used to identify potential construction alternatives for each objective. The remainder of this report summarizes the work at four regional task force meetings held in October and November 1986.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES FOR POOLS 11-22

The FWIC will strive to preserve the Upper Mississippi River floodplain for the enjoyment and use of this and future generations. Emphasis will be placed on the protection and conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitats. [The FWIC recognizes that sedimentation is the River's greatest problem and that watershed protection and land treatment would provide the greatest benefits in protection and management of the River's fish and wildlife resources. However, the FWIC views this as a responsibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and not a function of the EMP.]

Goal I - Environmental Quality - To preserve and enhance the environmental quality, wild character and natural beauty of the River's floodplain ecosystem.

Goal II - Migratory Birds - To provide the life requisites of waterfowl and other migratory birds.

Goal III - Fisheries and Aquatic Resources - To provide the life requirements of fish and other aquatic plant and animal life occurring naturally along or in the Upper Mississippi River.

Goal IV - Other Wildlife - To provide the life requirements of resident wildlife species.

Goal V - Endangered Species - To conserve, restore, and enhance Federal and State protected species and the habitats upon which they depend.

Table 1 lists the objective for each goal, example species for management, and potential habitat projects that may contribute toward achievement of the objective.

Pool Application

After management goals and objectives were discussed, the task forces identified existing management activities and additional objectives that could be achieved in the backwater complexes of each pool. Possible construction alternatives were also identified. Tables 2-13 summarize the results of this discussion.

Summary of Habitat Management Needs in Pool 11-22

Tables 14, 15, and 16 summarize the work of the task forces. Table 14 lists the areas evaluated, potential management objectives, and relative importance of management of an area to the management of the pool. Table 15 summarizes the management alternatives identified and the management objectives they may address. Finally, Table 16 lists highly important areas for management in the Rock Island District.

Recommendations

1. The information contained in this report to be used in HREP project development so ecosystem management is integrated in the program.

2. Alternatives to be developed to consider reclamation of marginal lands, reducing the impacts of navigation, improving benthos habitat, and protecting threatened or endangered species.

3. Engineering research should be focused on identifying additional alternatives to achieve stated objectives.


Last updated: May 12, 2009