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Historically, the Missouri River continually reshaped itself by eroding banks in some areas and building up islands and sandbars in other areas. The river’s dynamic nature provided plenty of habitat for native species of animals and plants.
Efforts in the 1900s to manage the river by building dams, levees and a navigation channel provided many social and economic benefits to the nation but drastically reduced the amount of habitat available for the river’s native species. Today, lack of habitat is a major reason that several Missouri River species are endangered or threatened, such as the pallid sturgeon, least tern and piping plover.
Since the 1980s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been implementing the Missouri River Fish & Wildlife Mitigation Project – part of the Missouri River Recovery Program – to restore some of the habitat lost due to past river management activities.
A critical piece of the Mitigation Project is acquiring land along the river from public and private landowners to build new habitat sites. This fact sheet explains the Corps’ process for acquiring new land for habitat while compensating landowners and communities fairly.