Hoeven Calls on USFWS Director To Take Practical Approach to Mandan Lakewood Barrier

WASHINGTON –Senator John Hoeven met with U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) Director Dan Ashe ahead of a meeting tomorrow with the Lakewood Homeowners Association, the USFWS and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. 

Hoeven called on Ashe to work with the Corps to issue a permit allowing the Lakewood Homeowners Association to remove part of a sandbar obstructing the Lakewood development inlet on the Missouri River. The sandbar was deposited after flood waters receded from last year’s historic Missouri River water levels. The inlet was also plugged last year by the City of Mandan to protect city infrastructure and reduce flood impacts to the community. The city has received funding from FEMA to remove the plug, and is in the process of doing so as early as this week. 

The Corps of Engineers is delaying issuing a permit to the Lakewood Homeowners Association to dredge the sandbars that have accumulated at the mouth of the inlet because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the new sandbar that was deposited as critical habitat. U.S. Fish and Wildlife has indicated it may delay the project until after the piping plover and least tern nesting season, which usually ends in June. 

Local Corps and U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff visited the site last week and found that no birds present on the sandbar. Hoeven told Ashe that US Fish and Wildlife should allow the project to proceed now, before the nesting season begins. 

“The Lakewood Homeowners Association is ready to go on this project,” Hoeven said. “All they need is clearance from U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the permit from the Corps. If these agencies would speed this along, the project could be completed before the nesting season and the interests of all parties involved – the homeowners and the birds – can be satisfied.”