Jameson and Cora Islands: “Where are we Now?”

Published: April 9, 2014

Presentation by Laurie Farmer and Zach White, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

In December 2006, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) began construction of a side channel chute at the Jameson Island Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge to re-create Shallow Water Habitat (SWH) benefiting the endangered pallid sturgeon and other native fish and wildlife species.  The chute, when completed, would be approximately 9,630 feet long, 200-feet wide; and approximately 5-feet deep during average August flows.

In 2007, the Corps voluntarily halted construction in response to concerns about water quality raised by the Missouri Clean Water Commission.  Natural river processes since that time removed the remainder of the material needed to fully complete the chute.  In 2013, the Corps began construction on an extension to the chute in an effort to restore an additional 30 acres of SWH through a combination of hydraulic dredging and natural channel widening.

Zach White and Laurie Farmer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) covered the Jameson Island SWH project currently under construction in the Big Muddy Wildlife Refuge near Arrow Rock, Missouri.  The Corps will discuss the overarching Missouri River Recovery Program and how it relates to the Missouri River, and historic actions on the river leading to three listed species. In addition, they will discuss new planned habitat projects at Cora Island Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge.

The speakers discussed the Jameson Island project from a planning development perspective and controversies surrounding construction methods.  They  also described the programmatic and during construction water quality monitoring and the status of the recommendations of a National Academy of Sciences study completed in 2011.   Lastly, the Corps speakers discussed how the development of SWH fits into the management of other Corps missions, the requirements of the amended 2003 Biological Opinion, and requirements as authorized in the Water Resources Development Acts of 1986 and 1999.


The Missouri River Recovery Program is an effort to replace lost habitat in order to avoid a finding of jeopardy to threatened and endangered species (pallid sturgeon, least tern and piping plover) resulting from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) projects on the Missouri River. This program includes development of emergent sandbar habitat, shallow water habitat, and wetland and terrestrial habitat. It also includes ongoing data collection and monitoring to determine if these actions are effective and an adaptive management process to ensure these efforts are meeting the goal to recover the listed species.  These efforts are requirements outlined by the 2000 Biological Opinion, amended in 2003, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Water Resource Development Acts of ’86, ’99, and ’07.

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The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Rocheport and Kansas City.

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