US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District Website

Environmental Restoration projects, studies and information papers

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration: Section 1135, Lower Otter Tail River, Wilkin County, Minnesota

The study area is located in a rural setting in Wilkin County just to the east of Breckenridge, Minnesota, approximately 180 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Otter Tail River is located in the upper portion of the Red River Valley watershed. A major reach of the river upstream of Breckenridge, Minnesota, was the subject of a flood control project constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1950’s. It involved straightening, cleaning enlarging the river for drainage improvement to local agriculture. The overall length of the river in this reach was reduced from 18 miles to 11 miles as a result of the project. The straightened channel decreased channel length, increased channel grade, increased channel conveyance, increased bank erosion, and reduced the flood profiles in the lower Otter Tail River watershed.
Published: 9/12/2016

Beneficial Use of Dredged Material: Section 1122, Upper Pool 4 – Lake Pepin, Bay City, Wisconsin

Lake Pepin extends about 22 miles in length from the delta of the Chippewa River to approximately River Mile 787 which is about 3 miles downstream of Red Wing, Minnesota. Upper Lake Pepin consists of channel border islands and backwater lakes grading into an expansive, shallow open water area with little physical structure. Sedimentation and sediment resuspension have caused a loss in water depth diversity of the backwater lakes and isolated wetlands above Lake Pepin as well as a loss in aquatic vegetation.
Published: 9/16/2016

Continuing Authorities Program (CAP)

Under the Continuing Authorities Program (CAP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is authorized to plan, design and construct certain types of water resource and ecosystem restoration projects without additional and specific congressional authorization. The purpose is to implement projects of limited scope and complexity. Each authority has specific guidelines and total program and per-project funding limits. Studies are cost-shared 50/50 during feasibility. Most projects are cost-shared 65 percent Federal and 35 percent non-Federal during implementation, unless otherwise noted.
Published: 2/26/2015

Continuing Authorities Program: Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration – Section 1135, Sand Hill River

The study area is located in a rural setting in Polk County, Minnesota, 275 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Sand Hill River basin is centrally located in the Red River Valley watershed. A major reach of the river downstream of Fertile, Minnesota, was the subject of a flood control project constructed by the Corps of Engineers from 1955 to 1958. It involved straightening the river and constructing several drop structures and served as a drainage improvement to local agriculture. Overall, more than 18 miles of the Sand Hill River was straightened or abandoned.
Published: 2/26/2015

Marsh Lake Ecosystem Restoration Project, Minnesota

The purpose of this project is to modify the existing Marsh Lake Dam to increase the bio-diversity of the Minnesota River/Lac qui Parle/Pomme de Terre River ecosystem without compromising the flood risk management function of the Marsh Lake Dam. Marsh Lake is on the Minnesota River between Swift and Lac qui Parle Counties near Appleton, Minnesota. The Marsh Lake Dam is owned and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the Lac qui Parle Flood Risk Management project. The fixed-crest dam holds a conservation pool in the upper portion of the Lac qui Parle Reservoir. The Works Progress Administration constructed the dam and rerouted the Pomme de Terre River into the reservoir between 1936 and 1939.
Published: 2/27/2015

Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP)

The Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), seeks to provide a safe, reliable, cost effective and environment sustainable waterborne navigation system by implementing switchboats at five locks, constructing mooring cells and seven new 1,200 foot locks. NESP will restore the aquatic and terrestrial habitat to a more natural condition on more than 100,000 acres throughout the system through a wide variety of ecosystem projects.
Published: 3/5/2020

Pigs Eye Islands CAP 204 Beneficial Use of Dredge Material, St. Paul, Minnesota

Pigs Eye Lake is located in Ramsey County, just east of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Pigs Eye Lake is located in upper Pool 2 of the Mississippi River. Due to the lake’s close proximity to the Mississippi River, water level is controlled by the level of the river. The lake is located in the Mississippi River Bottomlands subwatershed.
Published: 2/26/2015

Planning Assistance to States: River Falls Hydroelectric Project

This project is to assist the city of River Falls, Wisconsin in the development of a comprehensive plan to assess the proposed relicensing of the Junction Falls Development and the decommissioning and removal of the dam at the Powell Falls Development. Both developments are part of the River Falls Hydroelectric Project. Both the Junction Falls Development and the Powell Falls Development are located along the Kinnickinnic River in the city of River Falls, in Pierce County, Wisconsin
Published: 4/8/2020

Pool 2 Wing Dam Modification Project, Upper Mississippi River Pool 2, Minnesota

This project will notch a series of wing dams throughout Pool 2 in order to improve main channel border habitat for fishes. Wing dam notching will enable downstream scouring, which creates overwintering habitat. The project area is in the middle and lower half of Pool 2, Upper Mississippi River, downstream of St. Paul, Minnesota; spanning Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties, Minnesota.
Published: 11/24/2020

St. Croix River Feasibility Study: Endangered Mussel Conservation

Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in the Upper Mississippi River are a significant threat to the endangered Higgins eye pearlymussel (Lampsilis higginsii) and winged mapleleaf (Quadrula fragosa). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District and Engineer Research and Development Center are conducting a study in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the National Park Service; the Departments of Natural Resources from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa; and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. Recommended management alternatives outside the Corps’ existing authorities would need to be implemented by others.
Published: 2/27/2015

Tribal Partnership Program: Sturgeon Lake

The Prairie Island Indian Community is located on Pool 3 of the Mississippi River about 12 miles southeast of Hastings, Minnesota. Lands owned by the tribe include islands within and surrounding Sturgeon Lake, a backwater lake on the western side of the navigation channel of the Mississippi River. During past work with the tribe, they have expressed an interest in working to protect islands and improve habitat there, especially at the upper end of Sturgeon Lake. This project is to address sedimentation, erosion and degradation of culturally significant habitat on Prairie Island Indian Community’s tribal land in Sturgeon Lake.
Published: 3/20/2018

Tribal Partnership Program: Upper Sioux Community, Minnesota River

The study will assess the problems and opportunities being faced by the Upper Sioux Community on their tribal lands and make recommendations related to erosion along the Minnesota River adjacent to and impacting those lands.
Published: 4/14/2020

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Bass Ponds Marsh & Wetland Habitat Restoration

The hydrology in the area has changed significantly, driven in part by change in land use and climate. The proposed project aims to improve habitat for aquatic vegetation and migratory waterfowl by providing water level management capabilities that target management goals of the refuge.
Published: 3/15/2018

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Conway Lake, Lansing, Iowa

Dissolved oxygen is essential for a healthy fisheries habitat. Dissolved oxygen depletion is a problem in the study area in summer and in winter due to a variety of reasons. Conway Lake is relatively shallow with abundant aquatic vegetation. During the winter, excessive water enters Phillipi Lake through openings that are eroding, creating unsuitable habitat conditions for overwintering backwater fish. Shore Slough has less than optimal fish habitat conditions as a result of sedimentation and the high flows from Phillipi Lake.
Published: 4/12/2017

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Harpers Slough, Pool 9, Iowa Habitat Restoration

Harpers Slough area is a 4,150-acre backwater area located primarily on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River in Pool 9, about 3 miles upstream of Lock and Dam 9. The project will protect five existing islands and construct an additional seven islands using material from the backwater and main channel. The project will slow the loss of existing islands, reduce the flow of sediment-laden water into the backwaters, reduce turbidity and increase the diversity of land and shoreline habitat.
Published: 4/12/2017

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Lower Pool 10 Islands, Guttenberg, Iowa Habitat Restoration

Lower Pool 10 Islands restoration project is a side channel/island complex located on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River navigation channel in Pool 10, about one mile upstream from Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. The proposed project goals include protecting and restoring island complexes in this 1,000 acre area that would restore and enhance quality habitat for native and desirable species by reducing suspended solid concentrations and reducing wind fetch.
Published: 4/12/2017

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: McGregor Lake, Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin Habitat Restoration

McGregor Lake is a 200-acre backwater lake in Pool 10 of the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The proposed project could include various features, such as dredging the lake, restoring or strengthening the barrier islands and constructing small islands within the lake to reduce wave action. It could also improve adjacent forest habitat.
Published: 4/12/2017

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Minnesota/Wisconsin/Iowa Habitat Restoration

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program includes studies and projects in the Upper Mississippi River system north of Cairo, Illinois. The system includes the Illinois River. This program, authorized by Congress in 1986, emphasizes habitat rehabilitation and enhancement projects and long-term resource monitoring. The habitat project component includes dredging backwater areas and channels, constructing dikes, creating and stabilizing islands and controlling side channel flows and water levels.
Published: 3/20/2017

Upper Mississippi River System Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP)

Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) is a long-term program of ecosystem restoration and navigation improvements for the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS). NESP will improve system capacity and reduce commercial traffic delays through construction of seven new 1,200-foot locks, mooring cells, and switchboat implementation.
Published: 12/2/2020