Grand Island: Platte River Recovery Implementation Program progress report recap

A picture named pipingplover

From the Kearney Hub (Lori Porter):

CPNRD Biologist Mark Czaplewski said recent high streamflows have covered river sandbars and washed away any least tern and piping plover nests that might have been on them. The one possible exception is a “high and dry” artificial sandbar.

Director Dick Mercer of Kearney asked if current flows are more or less than what U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials want to manage habitat for threatened and endangered species. “Both,” Czaplewski said, explaining that the program plan for channel maintenance includes lesser flows at times and higher, short-duration flows at other times. He said higher sandbars can be built by higher river flows, but only if the water is provided by Mother Nature, not reservoir releases. “There are easier, more economical ways to do the same thing with a bulldozer and a few gallons of diesel fuel, without taking water away from people,” Czaplewski said. “… Those birds will use sandpits and artificial sandbars. I have preached that for 20 years, and there are a lot of other people preaching it.”[…]

Czaplewski said staying involved in the program is the only way to chip away with other ideas and to use the program’s adaptive management component — changing methods if they aren’t achieving their goals. “If you look at what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ultimately wants, it’s just overwhelming,” he said, adding that the Endangered Species Act is “a hammer” in the agency’s hands.

More South Platte Basin coverage here.

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