In an effort to save two types of endangered birds, Iowans living along the Missouri River will see more activity by the U-S Army Corps of Engineers this spring and summer.
Kelly Crane, spokeswoman for the Corps’ Omaha office, says crews will be building more sand bars as habitats for least terns and piping plovers. Crane says about 150 new acres will be available for the birds in addition to all of last year’s acreage. She says "we’ve got quite a good number of sand bars" after having a "habitat deficit" along the river for many years.
Crane says the sand bar project will likely continue well into the future as the populations of the rare birds begin to recover. She says it’s an ongoing project because for every sandbar they build, another one starts to erode, but "we’re really making progress." The sand bars were built between Ponca and Gavins Point Dam last year.
Since the dams were completed on the river, natural sand bar development has been greatly reduced. Crane says enhancing the habitat is well worth it. She says the development isn’t just for the least terns and piping plovers, either, but for several other creatures that are "in peril" and could use more protection along the waterway. The Corps spent more than ten-million dollars on last year’s sand bar projects.