KEEP THE MISSOURI RIVER MASTER MANUAL....STOP THE FLOODING....HUMAN FACTORS FIRST!

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The devastation endured from the man-made flood of 2011 is still fresh on everyone’s minds. The clean-up and restoration still continues today. There is farm ground that will never be farmed again because of the flood. The ground that is still farm-able has experienced a loss of production in grain yields. My family’s farm is located within Burt County, NE, and also endured significant damage from the 2011 flood.

Currently, there is habitat mechanical construction being done on the Missouri river regarding the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Fish and Wildlife Services are spending billions of dollars paying the Corps of Engineers to do the work.  The Corps is supposed to maintain the river by protecting the real endangered species (human beings) from flooding and the wonderful productive rich farm ground that borders the Missouri river. Instead, the Corps is protecting the Pallid Sturgeon (fish), Least Turn (bird), and the Piping Plover (bird). Two birds and a fish have become more important than farms and livelihoods for families that reside and do business along the Missouri river.

The Corps of Engineers “plans” identify the people and land they reside on as the “Human Factors”. So, what has happened to protecting the endangered species--- the (human beings) and the wonderful productive farm ground that borders the Missouri River?  The corps continues to build pallid sturgeon chutes, emergent sandbars, and notching the rock dikes.  These changes impact more than just the agriculture community.  It affects everyone up and down the river. This means that the river is now closer to us and will flood faster.

Since 2004, the river has become more flood prone when the government implemented the Missouri River Recovery Program and accelerated habitat development. This changed the storage and release protocol from the mainstream system.  More water is now stored in the reservoirs, thus reducing flood control space when snow melts commence in the mountains.  Because of the huge amounts of sand and debris in the river stream the water table is higher on the lower river south of Gavin’s Point Dam.

In 2009, the Corps bought 190 acres from the Papio Missouri River NRD that adjoins my family’s farm ground to the south, called Little Sioux Bend.  In July of 2015 a double looped pallid sturgeon chute was constructed. We watched the process and all the sand that was dredged out into the river.  Now there is a higher water table up and down the river where these chutes were constructed.  Along with this process rock dikes were notched and there is a great deal of bank erosion going on. This unlawful taking of ground, without due compensation, is violating our 5th amendment.

There is now a Missouri River Recovery Management Plan that is in draft status. A copy of that draft plan can be found at www.moriverrecovery.org . This draft, as the corps calls it, - is a programmatic assessment of the Missouri River Recovery Program which includes major federal actions necessary to comply with the 1973 Endangered Species Act of three federally-listed endangered species. This plan outlines the 6 alternative actions that may be implemented. PLEASE REVIEW THESE ON THE ABOVE LINK.

Three of the five alternatives call for pulses of water released in the Spring and Fall that could raise the river levels by as much as 5 feet or more while maintaining much shallower river levels in the summer. The spring and fall releases of this water in this plan would affect planting and harvesting season.  After extensive review of these alternatives we are requesting no changes be made and no alternatives be implemented to change the Corps Master Manual.

The pictures attached to this petition are aerial photos that were taken by my Mom on February 18, 2017.  As you can see, the results of what the Corps has been doing since the flood in 2011 have taken a drastic toll on people’s land. Where the chutes were put in there are sand piles in the middle of the river. Where the dikes have been notched, the banks are eroding back towards the Ag-land. The Missouri river does not resemble what it once was. The Corps of Engineers need to LISTEN to the people along the river. They need to communicate with us, the people who have farm ground and live along the river, and work together for a better cause.

We need to be proactive and continue to put the word out there and educate the people that the Corps plan calls for the acquisition of nearly 4,000 acres of riverside property in Missouri.  They also have acquired roughly 673 tax exempt acres in Burt County (of which our family farm resides) according to the Burt County assessor’s records.

I’m asking for your help to request the corps to not change their master manual.  Let them know about the physical changes you have seen since 2004 on the river and the impact it has had and will have on your life.  This can be done by sending written comments by April 24, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Omaha District

ATTN: CENWO-PM-AC - Management Plan Comments

1616 Capitol Avenue

Omaha, NE 68102

Or (preferred method) by linking to the website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/MRRM

I am also requesting you sign this petition on Change.org and share with others that you feel will support this.

Thank you,

Leslie (Jackson) Schlecht

 

 



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