Conservation groups are considering a plan to buy more tracts of land near the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota.
Wayne Nelson-Stastny, a natural resources coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says the beautiful land along the waterway should be preserved.
“There are no other stretches of river left like this,” he says. “Because of that uniqueness, you still see some of the characteristics that Lewis and Clark saw. Importantly, for the people, it offers lots of opportunities, the fish and wildlife that it brings in, the scenic values, a lot of potential recreation areas.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service want to buy the land and place it in conservation easements. Nelson-Stastny says they are in the initial phase of the process.
There would be access to the land but there would also be land protection and preservation areas, he says. The region runs along corridors from Fort Randall to the Running Water Bridge and from Gavins Point Dam down to Sioux City.
There is concern from land owners and county leaders about land moving into federal hands. Nelson-Stastny says they will meet with all parties to talk about their fears.
“I hope folks look at this as an opportunity to really enhance this area, to provide landowners and communities with another opportunity in this area,” he says.
Public meetings are planned on the subject over the next couple of weeks.
They’ll be held: February 21st at the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, February 23rd in Vermillion at the W.H. Over Museum, and February 24th in Niobrara at the WFLA Hall.
All meetings run 5:30 to 8 PM.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton