US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District Website


Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: McGregor Lake

Published April 12, 2017
Updated: Sept. 20, 2019

McGregor Lake is a 200-acre backwater lake in Pool 10 of the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The lake is bordered on the west by islands separating it from the main channel and on the east by a peninsula separating it from the east channel. The lake lies within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.


The lake is relatively shallow, with an average depth of 2½ feet. In 1989, about 75 percent of the lake had aquatic vegetation, which provides natural spawning habitat for fish. Unfortunately, aquatic vegetation and depth have decreased because of increased sedimentation and turbidity from erosion of the barrier islands.

The proposed project includes various improvement features:

  • Dredging to remove sediment;
  • Restoring barrier islands to prevent erosion;
  • Constructing small islands to reduce waves;
  • Improving adjacent forest habitat;
  • Providing habitat for fish and waterfowl;
  • Protecting the lake from main channel flows during the winter.

Project features were considered for McGregor Lake and also for island and slough habitat that forms the entire complex between the main channel and east channel.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began planning the project in fiscal year 2014 and completed a problem appraisal report in fall 2014. The Corps completed the feasibility study in May 2019. Plans, specifications and a construction contract award are scheduled for 3rd quarter fiscal year 2020.


The Corps will execute the McGregor Lake Habitat Project under the authority of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program. Congress authorized this program via Section 1103 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 and reauthorized it via Water Resources Development Act of 1999.

The project is being planned and designed as part of a cooperative effort of the Corps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Iowa and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources, and local interests.


Project design and construction costs will be 100 percent federal because the project is located on lands managed as a national wildlife refuge. Operation and maintenance costs will be 100 percent federal, a responsibility of the USFWS.

Estimated total project cost                         $18,000,000
Funding allocated through FY 2019              $1,200,000