Mississippi River Habitat Restoration

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 3:20 PM
Marriott Ballroom B (The Marriott Little Rock)
Jack Killgore , Department of the Army, U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS
Angeline Rodgers , Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vicksburg, MS
Gretchen Benjamin , Great Rivers Partnership, The Nature Conservancy, La Crosse, WI
Jim Wise , Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee & Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, North Little Rock, AR
Restoration opportunities differ along the course of the Mississippi River primarily due to available funding mechanisms.  Upper Mississippi River restoration has been driven largely by the Environmental Management Program’s Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Projects. Over 50 restoration projects have been completed focused on backwater lakes and sloughs, and island rehabilitation.  Benefits to aquatic communities have been the main objective of these restoration projects. In the Middle Mississippi River, restoration has been primarily related to jeopardy Biological Opinions on the impacts of the Upper Mississippi River-Illinois River Waterway Navigation project on pallid sturgeon. In this case, restoring side channels and islands, along with innovative modification of river training structures (e.g., notching dikes, constructing chevrons) has been pursued. In addition to pallid sturgeon, benefits to other obligate and facultative riverine species have also occurred. Restoration in the Lower Mississippi River began in the early 2000’s with LMRCC’s “Restoring America’s Greatest River” initiative. The Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee (LMRCC) conducted state-level planning meetings to identify aquatic habitat restoration projects on the Lower Mississippi River (LMR).  Nine categories of aquatic restoration, totaling over 200 projects, were selected by the states bordering the LMR. To date, approximately 40 miles of habitat have been restored.