Date of this Version
One of the few reaches of the Missouri River which remains in a relatively natural free-flowing state is a 93 km segment extending from Gavins Point Dam to Ponca State Park, NB. This reach of the river was designated as a National Recreational River (P.L.95-625, Sect. 707, 1978) because the natural and cultural values of this section were considered worthy of preservation. Early in 1979, the Secretary of the Interior designated the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS) as the agency responsible for developing a management plan for the Missouri Recreation River. The HCRS teamed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in acquiring data and formulating alternative plans for the Gavins Point to Ponca State Park segment of the Missouri River. Coordination with interested federal and state agencies (Nebraska and South Dakota), local organizations and the private individuals was incorporated into this effort. Eventually a management plan was promulgated outlining numerous objectives which are commensurate with the general tenets of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Among the plan objectives are the following:
1) Maintain and enhance fish and wildlife populations, both game and nongame species, through maintenance and enhancement of the habitat.
2) Conduct a natural resource inventory. Both of these objectives require data on the habitat types which currently exist in the Recreational River corridor. Consequently the decision was made to initiate a study to determine the existing habitats. A contract (#DACW 45-80-C-0155) was awarded to the Biology Department of the University of South Dakota to conduct an aquatic habitat inventory and thit report details the results of that study .
Two earlier studies (Schmulbach et al. 1975, Kallemeyn and Novotny 1977) defined the aquatic habitat types and the fish communities which characterize those habitats. In this report the terminology and criteria used to describe Missouri River aquatic habitats were generally adopted from the previous studies, particularly the study by Kallemeyn and Novotny (1977), which identified seven principal habitat types in the unchannelized river and included empirical data on depth and current velocity for each habitat.