Over time, these navigation pools have aged, and habitats have changed. Sediment is filling valuable backwaters; islands are eroding; and vegetation is disappearing from the river. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the public and other state and federal agencies explore ways to restore river habitats.
One method of restoring river habitats is through the Environmental Management Program (EMP), a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state natural resource departments and others. Thousands of acres of fish and wildlife habitat have already been restored by rebuilding and protecting islands from erosion and constructing dikes to control water levels. Water level management also includes drawdowns. This is a temporary water level reduction of 1-2 feet during summer months which stimulates aquatic plant growth.