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Peterson Lake habitat improvement plan

Posted: 10/18/2017

Expiration date: 12/4/2017

Summary of the Proposed Project. Peterson Lake is a 500-acre backwater lake located in the Upper Mississippi River Pool 4 between a string of main channel border islands and the Minnesota shoreline. Construction of the Peterson Lake Habitat and Enhancement Project, or HREP, was completed in 1995 to reduce sedimentation in Peterson Lake, stabilize the barrier islands bordering the lake, improve migratory waterfowl habitat, and improve winter habitat conditions for fish. The project included a combination of channel closures, weirs, fish access channels, and rock mound protection. Modifications to the original design are necessary to better accomplish the project’s goals and objectives. These modifications should improve aquatic habitat in approximately 130 acres of Peterson Lake for a variety of fish species including important sportfish (i.e. bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass, yellow perch and northern pike) and non-game native fishes (i.e. bigmouth buffalo, bowfin and shortnose and longnose gar). The improved aquatic habitat should also improve fishing opportunities and success, especially during winter months. Additionally, semi-aquatic habitat would likely be improved as a result of these added flow restrictions, benefiting waterfowl, wading birds and fur bearers. Fine sediment dredged for marine equipment access would be placed at beach sites and/or at the LD 4 embankment and would provide valuable topsoil to restore floodplain forest and enhance terrestrial habitat for wildlife including fur bearers, migratory birds, amphibians and reptiles.

Specific proposed modifications include; dredge into and repair the breach work at Channel 1; completely close off the most northerly partial closure, Channel 5; reconstruct and partially close the middle cut opening (Channel 8); repair Channel 9 to the project’s original design; dredged fine material (approximately 1,300 yd3) from Channel 1 would be placed on two underutilized beach areas or at the Lock and Dam 4 embankment for the purpose of forest restoration at these sites.

Construction Schedule. The work is proposed for the construction season of 2018 and is projected to take 2-3 weeks to complete.


a. General. The proposed action has been coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

b. State. The St. Paul District has received 401 Water Quality Certification from MPCA and has requested an amendment to the existing Public Waters Works Permit from MNDNR for the original construction and repair work at the Peterson Lake HREP.

c. Federal. A Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact was prepared and coordinated in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Coordination with the USFWS occurred during the planning process and a USFWS Refuge Special Use Permit has been requested by the St. Paul District.

Summary of Environmental Impacts.
Adverse project impacts would be minimal and short lived compared to the benefits gained by the project. The project would result in a long-term minor beneficial impact on recreational fishing, aquatic and terrestrial habitat, and biological productivity. There would be minor temporary increases in noise levels and air emissions and minor temporary but localized adverse impacts to surface water quality associated with project activities. Temporary adverse effects would cease when the project is completed.

Report. A Draft Environmental Assessment that describes the project and the environmental impacts in detail is available to the public and can be viewed at http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Home/PublicNotices.aspx and copies of the report can be obtained at the Pioneer Club, 14026 657th St., Wabasha, MN 55981; and the Wabasha Public Library, 168 Allegheny Ave., Wabasha, MN 55981. The report includes project drawings, a Draft Finding of No Significant Impact, and letters of coordination from regulatory agencies.

habitat restoration Mississippi River Peterson Lake St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineeers