Environmental Restoration projects, studies and information papers

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

The project is located in west-central Minnesota along an 11.4 mile stretch of channelized river. Breckenridge, Minnesota, is approximately 8.5 miles downstream of the project area and is the nearest town. The Lower Otter Tail River Channel Improvement Project was constructed in the 1950s to provide protection against the 10-year flood by clearing, enlarging, and straightening the existing river channel. The project reduced the length of the river in this reach from 18 miles to 11 miles. The straightened channel is now characterized by unstable banks, headcutting, excessive sediment loading, degraded in-stream and riparian habitats, and turbidity levels exceeding standard for aquatic life.
Published: 9/12/2016

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

This project proposes to utilize dredged material generated from navigation channel dredging to protect and restore backwater habitat; this is a win-win-win project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, our partner agencies and the environment. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is the non-federal sponsor.
Published: 9/16/2016

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 located on the Minnesota River between Swift and Lac qui Parle counties near Appleton, Minnesota. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and maintains Marsh Lake Dam 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.
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, in upper Pool 2 of the Mississippi River. Due to the lake’s close proximity to the Mississippi River, the lake 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 assisted 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.
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

Tribal Partnership Program: Sturgeon Lake

The purpose of the project is to address sedimentation, erosion and degradation of culturally significant habitat on Prairie Island Indian Community’s tribal land in Sturgeon Lake. Priority objectives identified in the feasibility study, which will be carried forward in the design and implementation phase are to: (1) reduce shoreline erosion on the Buffalo Slough Island; and (2) improve/restore floodplain forest habitat on Buffalo Slough Island.
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. The Upper Sioux Community is located south of the Minnesota River in Yellow Medicine County, approximately four miles south of the city of Granite Falls, Minnesota.
Published: 4/14/2020

Upper Mississippi River - Illinois Waterway 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

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. This study area is located within the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in an urban floodplain area near the cities of Shakopee and Savage, Minnesota. The lake and marsh areas are south of the Minnesota River (river miles 15‒21) and include Blue Lake, Fisher Lake, Rice Lake and the adjacent Continental Grain Marsh.
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 3,510-acre backwater located primarily on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River in Pool 9, about 3 miles upstream of Lock and Dam 9. The site is in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The purpose is to assess the extent of damage of islands and habitat and determine repairs necessary for the Harpers Slough Project in Pool 9. Construction was completed in 2017; however, two consecutive years of high water (including record levels in 2019) prevented plantings from becoming established and caused significant breaches in three islands. Island loss led to material deposition in the backwaters, resulting in less productive habitat for fish and wildlife and the project not achieving the benefits originally anticipated.
Published: 4/12/2017

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

The Lower Pool 10 Islands are part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program. The site is a 1,000-acre side channel and 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 site lies within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
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. The McGregor Lake project is located on the Wisconsin side of the Upper Mississippi River in the middle of Pool 10, near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The site lies within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
Published: 4/12/2017

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

This program, authorized by Congress in 1986, emphasizes habitat rehabilitation and enhancement projects (HREPs) and long-term resource monitoring. The HREP component includes dredging backwater areas and channels, constructing dikes, creating and stabilizing islands, controlling side channel flows and water levels, and creating floodplain forest habitat.
Published: 3/20/2017

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Reno Bottoms, Pool 9, Upper Mississippi River

The primary objective of this project is to protect, restore, or create resilient and diverse bottomland forests. The quality and extent of the unique forest and aquatic habitat in the Reno Bottoms project area has been declining over the past several decades. Human caused changes in hydrology, land use, and climate have increased water levels within the project area. Without action, the project area will continue to degrade. The quality of forest and aquatic habitat will decrease. Invasive grasses would expand into forests, limiting opportunities for smaller trees to grow and reducing habitat value. Additional loss of wetland habitat would adversely affect migrating waterbirds and songbirds who require the floodplain forest to stop and rest.
Published: 3/22/2019