OMAHA, Neb. – From September 3 through September 20, 2013, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have a contractor spraying sandbars in the Missouri River between Pickstown, S.D. and Ponca, Neb. with aquatically-approved herbicides for vegetation control on emergent sandbar habitat.
Approximately 10 sandbars will be treated in the Pickstown to Niobrara reach (river miles 870.0 to 846.0) and approximately 30 sandbars will be treated in the Yankton to Ponca reach (river miles 805.0 to 754.0). Spot spraying will be conducted only on vegetated portions of the sandbars, with a total amount likely between 200 and 300 acres. Spraying will be done with glyphosate (trade name Rodeo) and imazapyr (trade name Habitat), both approved for aquatic use by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.
Spraying may occur on weekends and will take place only when environmental conditions allow, such as little to no wind and no rainfall in the immediate forecast. All spraying will be done by certified applicators using all-terrain vehicles.
BACKGROUND: In 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion in which the agency found the Corps’ operations on the Missouri River would not likely jeopardize endangered interior least tern and threatened piping plover populations if certain recommendations set forth in the BiOp were implemented. One of those recommendations is to restore emergent sandbar habitat as nesting habitat for these two species. By using aquatically-approved herbicides to control vegetation on the sandbars, they remain viable nesting habitat. After public review of a draft environmental assessment, the “Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for Restoration of Emergent Sandbar Habitat Complexes in the Missouri River, Nebraska and South Dakota” was released in May 2013. A copy of this report can be downloaded at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Planning/EnvironmentalPlanning/FinalDocuments.aspx.
Release no. 20130812-001