Near Missouri River mile 282 you can see progress of a new side-channel chute. This project is the Missouri River Recovery Program’s Cranberry Bend site managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.
Construction of this side-channel chute, and moving an existing levee further inland, will create 41 acres of aquatic habitat with the intent to benefit the endangered pallid sturgeon and other native fish and wildlife along the river and improve floodplain connectivity to 450 acres of land.
ESI Contracting of Kansas City, Mo., was awarded the construction contract. Work commenced this past winter and is overseen by the Kansas City District’s Resident Office.
Construction preparation began in the winter, but with warmer weather finally making a debut, the project site work has really kicked off and large-scale construction efforts have begun.
This contractor has experience from previous projects with the Kansas City District and has proven valuable in their approach to this job. An effort such as strategic stockpiling of materials for the new levee on the opposite side of the chute construction is one example of beneficial work.
Bob Schoen, resident engineer for the Kansas City District, and his crew oversee the construction. “This project is making amazing progress and ESI made the most of the winter months. The low river stages, low groundwater and frozen ground provided them with an opportunity to stockpile the material and allow it to drain and dry out (this spring). Now they are able to use it to build the levee with soils in the right condition allowing for more ideal levee placement. They have really met this job head on.”
This project incorporates beneficial reuse of material to create in-channel habitats in the river margins. Once the new levee is complete, the old levee will be notched and the chute will open up. Additionally, the old island at the project site will be enhanced and new wetlands and a sandbar will be created. New dikes will be constructed and old dikes extended to ensure the navigation channel is maintained. Dike modifications will also help sustain the new sandbar near the island.
Due to construction, the Cranberry Bend site is temporarily closed to public access and will reopen following completion of the project, anticipated in the fall of 2015.