OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking comments on the recently released draft feasibility report and integrated environmental assessment which outlines a proposed plan to restore approximately three miles of degraded ecosystem along the Little Goose Creek, Big Goose Creek, and Goose Creek in Sheridan, Wyoming. The plan includes in-stream structures to improve cold water fishery habitat, stream modifications to increase fish passage and restoration of wetland habitat adjacent to the creeks. None of the proposed measures will impact the current level of protection provided by the existing flood control project in Sheridan.
The draft report, developed in coordination with the local sponsor (City of Sheridan), provides information on the need for the project, current conditions of the project area, identification of opportunities for restoration, development of various restoration alternatives and selection of the proposed plan. The proposed plan includes (1) placement of in-stream structures such as boulder clusters and riffles to provide habitat and shelter for fish and other aquatic organisms, (2) restoration of wetland, riparian and floodplain habitats to increase connectivity of upstream and downstream reaches of the creeks, and (3) modification of the current drop structure near Lewis Street Bridge to improve fish passage for native cold water fish species. The plan also includes recreation features that complement the ecosystem restoration components of the project including a new trail and seating area along with interpretive educational signage.
The draft feasibility report may be downloaded at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Planning/Project-Reports/. Hard copies will be available for viewing at the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library, 335 W. Algar Street and at City Hall, 55 E. Grinnell Plaza in Sheridan, Wyoming. Comments on the report can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, CENWO-PMA-C, ATTN: John Shelman, 1616 Capitol Avenue, Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments must be postmarked or received by March 12, 2018. For information about the study, visit www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Planning/PlanningProjects/SheridanWY.aspx.
BACKGROUND: In 1963, construction of the Sheridan flood control project was completed under the authority of the Flood Control Act of 1950. The project, designed to protect the city from Goose Creek and Little Goose Creek flood discharges, consists of levees, drainage structures, concrete chutes and drop structures, and channel alterations. Although the flood control project is operating as intended, the ecosystem in the vicinity of the project has become severely degraded. In September 2014, the Sheridan City Council approved an agreement to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a feasibility study to evaluate possible ecosystem restoration solutions along the creeks. A public meeting to gather input on the study scope was held in Sheridan in April 2015. An additional public meeting to discuss preliminary alternatives was held in March 2017. The feasibility study is being conducted under Section 1135 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 which allows the Corps to modify existing Corps projects for improvement of the environment.