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.
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 St. Paul District operates and maintains 13 locks and dams from Upper St. Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. Each lock and dam is a critical step in the "stairway of water" that makes navigation possible between Minneapolis and St. Louis, Missouri. These facilities are aging structures, with locks and dams 2 through 10 originally constructed in the 1930s. These sites include a dam bridge and varying numbers of dam gates. The moveable dam gates are one of the most critical system components because they control pool elevation for navigation, flood control and environmental purposes.
Determine whether or not continued operation and ownership of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam (USAF) is in the federal interest, and if not, provide supporting information for deauthorization of the project purposes and disposal of the property. USAF is located on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Minnesota River had been recognized as highly degraded and a significant sediment source filling Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River and delivering nutrients to the Gulf of Mexico. The Minnesota River Basin Reconnaissance Study, Section 905(b) Analysis recommended an “Integrated watershed, water quality management, and ecosystem restoration analysis, leading to the development of a basin scale watershed management plan” for the Minnesota River Basin. The purpose of this Minnesota River Basin Interagency Study (MRBI Study) was to implement that recommendation by engaging agency partners and using advanced hydrologic modeling and environmental benefit analysis. The intent was to understand water, sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus transport across large landscapes to evaluate hydrologic, sediment and nutrient runoff response to historic, existing and probable future conditions.
The study area is the Six Mile Creek watershed, a twenty seven square mile watershed located in western Hennepin County, Minnesota. The watershed contains abundant and interconnected lakes and wetland resources, an array of needed improvement strategies, wildlife corridors, and is anticipated to experience growth and development in the coming decades.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District is responsible for maintaining 244 miles of the Upper Mississippi River 9-foot channel navigation system from the head of navigation at Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa. The navigation system also includes the lower navigable portions of the Minnesota, St. Croix, and Black Rivers.
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.