RIVERDALE, N.D. - During September, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District will conduct vegetation management activities on sandbars in the Missouri River. Contractors will use a helicopter to spray sandbars with aquatic-approved herbicides to keep them clear of vegetation. This work is being done so that the sandbars can continue to be used by the endangered interior least tern and threatened piping plover for nesting. The sandbars being treated are on the Missouri River between the Garrison Dam and the Hazelton Boat Ramp on Lake Oahe (river miles 1381 to 1278). The Bismarck-Mandan river reach, river miles 1325 to 1310, and river miles 1364 and 1363 north of Washburn, N.D. will not be sprayed.
Aerial spraying will begin after Labor Day and will be conducted only on vegetated portions of sandbars previously identified for treatment by a team of federal and state agency representatives. Spraying will be done with glyphosate and imazapyr, both approved for aquatic use by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.
Spraying 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 a helicopter. While efforts will be made to conduct spraying during the week when public use is lower, spraying may occur on weekends since good spraying days can be limited due to wind or rain.
The Corps began current vegetation control and removal activities on selected sandbars in 2012 and will continue each spring and/or fall, as needed, into the future.
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 were implemented. One of those recommendations is to restore emergent sandbar habitat as nesting habitat for these two species. 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, North Dakota” was released in August 2013. A copy of this report can be downloaded at: http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Planning/EnvironmentalPlanning/FinalDocuments.aspx.
Release no. 20140827-001