DES MOINES – Earlier today, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) communicated a conditional certification to the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) regarding the proposed shallow water habitat (SWH) project at the Little Sioux Bend segment of the Missouri River. The certification establishes specific conditions that reinforce the State of Iowa’s guiding flood control and nutrient reduction principles that must be met before the Corps may proceed with the project.
The conditional certification, signed by DNR Director Chuck Gipp, included the following statement, “The outlined conditions take common sense steps to reinforce the State of Iowa’s flood control focus in the management of the Missouri River. In addition, the outlined methodology changes the status quo approach to SWH projects and requires concrete steps to reduce the amount of nutrients introduced to the Missouri River.”
“This conditional certification demonstrates another example of the State of Iowa incorporating stakeholder feedback to improve public policy. We incorporated the feedback from the public stakeholder meeting on June 28, in Onawa, Iowa. We strongly believe that we have found a way for these projects to be completed in the right way – a way that reinforces the State of Iowa’s focus on flood control and nutrient reduction,” said Gipp.
The conditional certification approach will be the baseline approach for the State of Iowa for similar SWH projects. The State of Iowa also encourages a broader conversation to be led by the Corps and the United States Congress on the long-term effectiveness of these projects.
“Increasing river channel diversity will provide benefits to native fish and wildlife species that inhabit the Missouri River which we support as long as the conditions we have laid out are met. In the long run, improving habitat conditions along the Missouri River will be beneficial to Iowa’s fish and wildlife populations which then contributes to improving our quality of life and making Iowa a more attractive place for people to live and work,” said Gipp.