Sandy Parmenter
Nebraska City’s Tourism & Commerce hosted Micki VanRenan and Fremont County Supervisor Randy Hickey at their Hot Topics meeting at Scooter’s Coffee on April 12.  
VanRenan is a spokesperson for the Responsible River Management group, and the two were there to talk about the Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) draft Missouri River Recovery Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.
 Those documents have recently been released to the public and comment invited, but the deadline to do so is rapidly approaching, as it is April 24, 2017.
VanRenan explained that the purpose of the Plan and Impact Statement is to create a management plan that will increase the population or at least not further endanger the populations of the piping plover, the interior least tern, and the pallid sturgeon.  
VanRenan was adamant that at least two of these creatures were readily found elsewhere, and not in need of any more assistance.  
She also pointed out that efforts to increase these populations had been ongoing by the Corps for years, with little or no positive effect.
VanRenan urged those present to understand that whether they lived on it or not, the management of the Missouri River directly affected them.  
She pointed out the example of the 2011 flood that affected not only the farmers and homeowners whose fields and homes were flooded, but also employers and employees who worked on opposite sides of the Missouri River, and retailers whose businesses were flooded or who were losing traffic due to closed roads.
VanRenan and Hickey talked about the Corps’ public meeting held in Omaha on Valentines Day this year, in which the plan and impact statement were discussed and people were given opportunity to comment or question officials.  
Both suggested that the date, time and location, combined with the need to have parking tickets, etc. were all designed to make it less than convenient for members of the public to attend and make themselves heard.
VanRenan explained that the Corps was considering six possible alternatives as ways to manage the Missouri River, and handed out a sheet summarizing the six alternatives.  
Alternatives were based on whether they would change anything about the way the river is currently managed, whether they would add more or different types of habitat, and whether they would add more or more intense river flows.  
VanRenan said that one of these alternatives would adjust flow rate from Gavins Point from 16,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to around 60,000 over a seven day period, hold it at that high for seven days, then slowly lower it back down over a seven day period.  
She was very concerned that any heavy rainfall received during that 21 day period could put this area at risk for tremendous flooding once again.  
She said that the Corps was not taking the actions of Mother Nature into account when planning their actions, no matter which alternative they chose.
VanRenan also pointed out that in nearly every alternative the Corps offered, anywhere from 107 to 3,546 additional acres would be required each year for habitat creation efforts.  
VanRenan and Hickey asked those present to think about where those extra acres were coming from.
Hickey said the Corps had been gaining ground for years from “willing sellers” who had been flooded out so many times they eventually gave up.  
He expected that practice would continue.  
Additionally, land owned by the Corps rather than public citizens or businesses contributes little or nothing to taxes for the Counties losing the land.
VanRenan and Hickey summarized the efforts of the Corps to save the piping plover, the interior least tern, and the pallid sturgeon as ineffective and unnecessary, ridiculously expensive, and posing risk to human interests across the board.
The two urged attendees to read the Corps Management Plan and Impact Statement on the MRRP website at: under the “Management Plan” tab.  They asked attendees to take the time to comment on those documents before April 24 online at