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Middle Decatur Bend

Image capture of Middle Decatur Bend


Size (acres):  1385.35 (1061.02 in fee-owned; 324.33 in easement)

River Mile:  686.3 to 689.5

Bank:  Left descending bank

County:  Burt (NE) and Monona (IA)

State:  Nebraska and Iowa

Ownership, Management and Access

Ownership:  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and State of Iowa

Acquisition Status:  Acquired from willing sellers between 1996 and 2015 under Water Resources Development Acts 1986 and 1999 authorizations. Easement acquired by the Corps in 2000.

On-Site Management: Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) administers and/or performs operation and maintenance activities on behalf of the Corps according to the terms of various agreements.

Site Access:  Motor vehicles are restricted to established roadways and parking areas.

Description, Use and Regulations

Description:  Middle Decatur Bend is located along the left descending bank of the Missouri River and is included in the larger Blackbird-Tieville-Decatur Project that was constructed in 2003.

  • Land ownership within Middle Decatur Bend is a mixture of state and federal lands. Over time, shifts in the river's path placed Iowa land and Nebraska land on the opposite side of the river.
  • Historically, these river bends formed a complex that contained side channels which spread the river across the flood plain. During construction of the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project (BSNP), these side channels were cutoff by creation of a straighter navigation channel and connectivity between the floodplain and river reduced. 
  • The project's purpose was to restore the connection between Middle Decatur’s backwater lake (Decatur Lake) and the Missouri River by constructing an inlet and channel to allow water to river flow to the lake. The channel serves as a corridor for fish and other aquatic species to pass back and forth between the main channel of the river and Decatur Lake. The lake serves as SWH providing feeding, spawning, and rearing habitat for native fish and other aquatic species.
  • Clean out of the channel was completed after the 2011 flood event as sediment accumulated in the original channel blocking the connection between the river and lake. 
  • In addition, construction was completed at this site in 2016 for a river top-width widening project. This project entailed mechanically removing accreted soils to widen the top-width of the river channel. This resulted in the creation of shallow, low-velocity benches adjacent to the main channel that provide habitat for pallid sturgeon and other native aquatic and shoreline species.

Status:  Open to the public. Construction is complete.  Soon In Operations and Maintenance.

Site Use:  The area is available for a variety of outdoor activities including bird watching, hiking, fishing and hunting (under special regulations).

Site-use Regulations:  

  • People visiting these areas must comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, including hunting, fishing, etc.  In general Title 36 Part 327 of the Code of Federal Regulations governs the use of Corps property.  Other regulations may apply to properties owned by other federal agencies.
  • Special regulations and restrictions may be posted on site.

Special-use Regulations:  No target shooting or primitive camping permitted on Corps fee-owned land.

For More Information

Contact Information: 

  • For Iowa lands, contact Iowa Department of Natural Resources at (712) 420-2437 or visit IDNR web document.
  • For Nebraska lands, contact the Corps' Missouri River Project Office at (402) 996-3761.

Story Maps Link:  http://rsgisias.crrel.usace.army.mil/story_maps/nwo/mrrp/index.html#

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