22 December 2009

Recent Purchase Provides Missouri River Management Potential

When the Corps of Engineers purchased about 600 acres at North Alabama Bend in July 2009, it bought a tract that will provide further opportunities to manage habitat along the Missouri National Recreation River.

Area map of the North Alabama Bend tract, with the boundary shown by the red line. Image courtesy of the Omaha District office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The "tract of land was purchased by the Corps' Missouri River Recovery Program for restoration efforts to preserve riparian habitat," according to Kelly Crane, a program manager with the federal agency. "This parcel was attractive because it is a large, undeveloped piece of land that lends itself to preservation and is bordered on the south by the Missouri River for a little more than one mile and bordered on the east by Highway 19."

"The land features some variation in elevation which allows for both uplands and lowland plants," Crane said. "There are over 300 acres of maturing cottonwood forest (along with some other mixed trees). There is some cedar encroachment on the land, but the Corps will work to remove" this invasive species. About 200 acres of grasslands will be worked to restore native species of flora and fauna.

The property will also be conducive to restoration of sandbar habitat and possibly a backwater restoration, Crane said.

"The Corps will work with a multi-agency team consisting of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the States of South Dakota and Nebraska, and many other agencies that will cooperatively determine the ultimate use of the property."

The North Alabama Bend Property was purchased for $3.4 million.

North Alabama Bend was named for the 220-ton steamboat of the same name that wrecked on October 27, 1870.

"There is a steamboat wreck approximately seven miles upstream that historians believe may be the North Alabama," Crane said. "The wreckage is not located on this site."

This tract is currently open for walk-in public access.

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