Target: US Army Corps of Engineers
Goal: Save imperiled swamp rabbits from having their home destroyed by a river engineering project.
Found only in the swamps and wetlands of the American South, swamp rabbits have one of the most unusual habits out of any member of the rabbit family. When escaping from a predator, a swamp rabbit will often dive into a nearby body of water and swim to safety. Though related to more familiar cottontails, swamp rabbits are larger and prefer a more specialized habitat. As the wetlands they depend on disappear due to development, swamp rabbits have declined in numbers and are now considered a Species of Concern in states like Missouri.
Despite the swamp rabbit’s imperiled status, the US Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to build a giant levee that would destroy one of the last patches of swamp rabbit habitat in Missouri. The levee would cut the Mississippi River off from a floodplain ecosystem called the New Madrid Floodway, draining the marshy habitat that swamp rabbits and many other species depend on to survive. A total of 50,000 acres of wetlands would be affected by the project. If the levee is built, swamp rabbits in the area will lose the only home they have.
Though the situation is serious for swamp rabbits and other wetland animals, there is still time to stop the misguided levee project. Sign the petition below to urge the Army Corps of Engineers not to destroy swamp rabbit habitat.
Dear US Army Corps of Engineers,
We, the undersigned, are writing to oppose the St. Johns Bayou New Madrid Levee project, which would destroy the wetland habitat of swamp rabbits and other sensitive species in the New Madrid Floodway. The affected floodplain is an important buffer against flooding for nearby communities, and supports a significant fishery that will be jeopardized by the proposed project. By disrupting an entire 50,000 acre ecosystem, the project puts at risk dozens of wetland species. Swamp rabbits, which are listed by the State of Missouri as a Species of Concern, are just one of the many remarkable creatures that will be affected.
We urge you to pursue other, less destructive options for preventing small floods along the Mississippi River, and to abandon the St. Johns Bayou New Madrid Levee project. This project is not in the interest of local fisheries or affected wildlife populations, and could actually expose communities to more danger from large flooding events. Please, select the “no action” option in your final Environmental Impact Statement for this project.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Missouri Department of Conservation