Success Stories - Ecosystem and Wetland Restoration
Louisiana NRCS and the USACE
Are currently collaborating on Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA). Under this authority, NRCS and USACE along with EPA, USFWS, NMFS and the State of Louisiana, plan design and implement wetland restoration and protection projects.
Fish Passage Restoration on the Lower Ten Mile River Watershed
NRCS, USACE, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Save the Bay, and the City of East Providence are jointly working together to implement fish passage restoration on the Lower Ten Mile River Watershed. For over 200 years, dams have blocked anadramous river herring and American shad from their historic spawning grounds. With construction of fishways on three dams, the Ten Mile ranks as the highest priority fish run restoration project in Rhode Island and will allow access to both the 33 acre Omega Pond and the 297 acre Turner Reservoir. As part of the collaborative project between NRCS and the USACE, NRCS is providing financial assistance to the City of East Providence in order to build the first of three fishways at Omega Pond Dam. USACE and the State of Rhode Island will be cost sharing on the two upstream barriers.
The Missouri River Habitat Restoration Initiative (Ongoing)
The Corps has a requirement under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceï¿½ Biological Opinion to create shallow water habitat and emergent sandbar habitat on the mainstream of the Missouri River. Four (4) priority reaches for restoration have been identified: below Gavins Point; below Garrison Dam; below Fort Randall Dam; and Clarke Lake. The total area of available habitat needed by 2015 on all 4 reaches is over 12,000 acres. An interagency team has been assembled. Potential opportunities exist for Corps/NRCS collaboration in habitat creation via the NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program. Discussions with the NRCS in Nebraska are being initiated to evaluate/pursue collaborative opportunities. If successful, this model could potentially be applied with other NRCS state offices throughout the targeted Missouri mainstem habitat restoration areas.
Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC)
NRCS and USACE are working together on this committee. The first goal is to develop a broadly based consensus on a recommended Charter for the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Plan. Ultimately, MRRIC will make recommendations to recover threatened and endangered species in the Missouri River Basin and to restore the Missouri River ecosystem. The recommended Charter is expected to describe and explain important aspects related to the future work of MRRIC that will be used to focus and guide its direction and operation.
The Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project (Ongoing)
The NRCS is leading an effort to improve the ecological and environmental functions of degraded natural resources throughout Cape Cod. The Watershed Plan and Areawide Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project was prepared under the authority of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, PL 83-566 and in accordance with Section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act. The purposes of the project are to: 1) Improve tidal flushing in salt marshes where man-made obstructions (i.e., road culverts) have restricted tidal flow. This will help restore native plant and animal communities in salt marshes, and improve biotic integrity; 2) Restore fish ladders and other fish passages that have deteriorated. This will allow greater numbers of anadromous fish to gain access to spawning areas, and support greater populations of other species that depend on them for food; and 3) Maintain and improve water quality affecting shellfish beds by treating stormwater runoff. This will help ensure that shellfish beds which are threatened with closure remain open, and maintain or extend the current shellfishing season for beds whose use is restricted during certain times of the year. NRCS is utilizing a USACE methodology to determine project benefits in non-monetary terms of habitat units. This benefit is displayed in the National Ecosystem Restoration (NER) account in lieu of the traditional National Economic Development (NED) Account, which is measured in dollars. The Corps New England District is collaborating with NRCS in this effort by providing guidance and training to NRCS staff. The Final Plan and EIS can be found at: http://www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/CCWRRP/index.html.
NRCS is working directly with the Corps on a wetland mitigation bank. The bank is being funded through a Conservation Innovation Grant. The project will restore a 50 acre wetland basin and will provide for a mechanism for creating a bank to mitigate wetland losses.
In 2005, Savannah District formed a state and federal interagency team called the North Georgia Water Resources Agency to assist them in the plan formulation of several ecosystem restoration and watershed projects in Georgia. The interagency team includes members from NRCS, United States Geological Survey (USGS), USFWS, EPA and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The team worked together to develop a stream restoration planning tool called the Ecosystem Response Model, which is currently being certified by the Ecosystem Restoration Planning Center.