Missouri River Recovery Program
Photo by Clint Miller/The Conservation Fund
The Fund has helped conserve thousands of acres along the Missouri River in Nebraska as part of the Missouri River Recovery Program.
Stretching more than 2,300 miles from Three Forks, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri, where it joins the Mississippi River, the Missouri River has sustained the people and wildlife of the Great Plains for centuries. Today, the Missouri River supports a wide variety of interests and uses: agriculture, commerce, conservation, energy, natural resources, recreation and water supply.
Through the Missouri River Recovery Program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Indian tribes, state agencies as well as other agencies and organizations, including the Fund, to restore some of the natural characteristics of the Missouri River. Through restoration the river can continue to support a thriving population of native wildlife while also providing for current social and economic uses.
Saving A Great Plains Lifeline
As part of this effort to enhance the Missouri River and restore critical wildlife habitat, the Fund joined forces with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect 2,400 acres—and nearly seven miles of river frontage—in Cedar County, located in northern Nebraska along the border with South Dakota. We purchased the property in July of 2009 and transferred it to the Corps three month later.
The property was identified as the highest priority for the Missouri River Recovery Program. Consisting of riverfront land, cedar forest, grassland and cropland the property sits between the Missouri River and a steep bluff. A large chute, or side channel, of the Missouri River once ran through the property helping to form an island known locally as St. Helena Island.
This land may have been host to an Omaha Indian village in the early 1800s and Lewis and Clark camped across the river in August 1804 during the Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery expedition. “Preservation of this property is a significant step forward for the Missouri River Recovery Program and is critical to bringing back least terns, pallid sturgeon, piping plovers and bald eagles to the area,” said Clint Miller, the Fund’s Upper Midwest field representative. “We appreciate the commitment of conservation-minded landowners who are helping to restore the Missouri River and build a natural legacy that will benefit current and future generations.”