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USACE to begin vegetation control on Missouri River sandbars between Yankton, Vermillion, South Dakota

USACE Omaha District
Published Aug. 24, 2022
Updated: Aug. 24, 2022
A helicopter sprays a sandbar in the Missouri River as part of vegetation control efforts in 2016.

A helicopter sprays a sandbar in the Missouri River as part of vegetation control efforts in 2016. The sandbars provide habitat for the endangered interior least tern and threatened piping plover. Lower levels of vegetation on the sandbars help protect the birds from predators.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District announced that it will conduct vegetation management activities in September on Missouri River sandbars at the following locations: between Yankton and Vermillion, South Dakota; the upper portion of Lewis and Clark Lake near Springfield, South Dakota and Niobrara, Nebraska; and as far upstream as Pickstown, South Dakota.

This preventative maintenance is conducted to keep the sandbars free of vegetation, control invasive common reed that has become prevalent in the lake area and ensure that they are usable by the threatened piping plover for nesting.

Approximately 1,200 acres have been identified for treatment by a team of federal and state representatives. Using helicopters, certified applicators will begin spraying the vegetated portions of the sandbars after Sept. 5, 2022. Spraying will be done with glyphosate and imazapyr herbicides, both approved for aquatic use by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. 

Spraying will occur only when environmental conditions allow, such as little to no wind and no rainfall in the immediate forecast. While efforts will be made to conduct spraying during the week, spraying may occur on the weekends if needed and conditions permit.

The Omaha District began current vegetation control and removal activities on selected sandbars in 2012, and will continue each spring, and/or fall, as needed.

Release no. 22-033