The Grand Prairie Region, Arkansas Project
Was reauthorized by Section 3639(a) of the WRDA of 1996. The project consists of the construction of measures for ground water protection and conservation, agricultural water supply, and waterfowl management. The Project will protect and preserve the Alluvial and Sparta Aquifers in the Grand Prairie region of east Arkansas. The measures include a pumping plant located on the White River, a network of new canals, existing channels, pipelines, on-farm features, and environmental restoration and enhancement. In August 2000 a Memorandum of Agreement was entered into between the USACE ad NRCS. The agreement provides NRCS the responsibility to design and construct on-farm storage, retrofitting existing irrigation systems, and conservation features to increase the on farm efficiency of the project.
The Rock Island District of the Corps and Illinois NRCS are working in a three way partnership with The Nature Conservancy on this project. The Nature Conservancyï¿½ Emiquon Preserve contains about contains about 7,000 acres on the western bank of the Illinois River in Fulton County, Illinois. Before it was converted to cropland in the early 20th century, Emiquon was a floodplain containing a complex system of backwater wetlands and lakes located along the Illinois River. The restoration project will be an example of how degraded floodplains can be restored to functional wetlands. Approximately 6,300 acres of Emiquon has been placed in a 30 year NRCS Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) Easement. In May 2007 floodplain restoration under a WRP Restoration Plan was initiated, and plantings were begun. The proposed Corps features would help to restore the aquatic areas. Real estate issues have been encountered with this project, and the agencies are in the process of working through these.
John H. Kerr 216 Study Interagency Team
NRCS participates on Wilmington Districtï¿½ John H. Kerr 216 Study Interagency Team. The District is evaluating the operation of the John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir and will develop a report on the advisability of modifying the structures or the structureï¿½ operation and for improving the quality of the environment in the overall public interest.
Use of Authorities and Funding
To implement terms of a USFWS biological opinion for routine operation of Isabella Dam and Reservoir, the Corps worked closely with NRCS to leverage authorities NRCS had for conservation easements that the Corps did not have. The effort was very successful.