Construction crews and scientists will be out on the Missouri River this spring, working on rock jetties and sand bars to provide a home for endangered birds and fish. Spokesman Paul Johnson says the Corps of Engineers has set aside 54-Million dollars for the habitat recovery work. He calls it an opportunity to not only protect the birds and fish, but find ways to “recover” their populations.

It’ll be split into different efforts along different parts of the long river. Work above Sioux City would focus on the terns and plovers, mostly sandbar habitat. From Sioux City downstream, emphasis will be on the pallid sturgeon and things like shallow-water habitat to encourage it to lay eggs that successfully hatch.

Johnson says you’ll be able to see some of the work along the river. They’ll notch stone “control dikes” that stick out into the river — so water can move around and through them and create turbulence and shallow-water habitat behind the small dikes. Those can be done quickly, and other projects like the dredging of backwaters as they did at Ponca last year and creating sandbars for nesting birds will take longer. Johnston says they will start the work later this spring, and most of it should be done by late summer.