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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. One island in particular, bordering Buffalo Slough, has been eroding and could benefit from shoreline stabilization.
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.
These three areas are located on the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in an urban floodplain area near Bloomington, Minnesota. The proposed project goals include various features, such as dredging and removing silt to increase sediment trap capability, replacing existing water control structures, dike rehabilitating or widening to keep it from breaching, reevaluating and adjusting the spillway elevation to keep water from draining into Eagle Creek, rehabilitating the outlet control structure, and dredging channels in Continental Grain Marsh and Fisher Lake to remove silt and increase drawdown capabilities.
The Conway Lake Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project is located in Pool 9 of the Upper Mississippi River, immediately upstream of Lansing, Iowa. Conway Lake is relatively shallow with abundant aquatic vegetation. Dissolved oxygen depletion is a problem in the lake in summer and in winter. During the winter, excessive water enters Phillipi Lake through openings that are eroding, creating unsuitable habitat conditions for overwintering backwater fish.
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.
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 1 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.
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.