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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Programs & Project Management
180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul MN 55101

(651) 290-5755.


Posted 2/27/2015

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Updated September 2018


Marsh Lake is on the Minnesota River between Swift and Lac qui Parle Counties near Appleton, MN.  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.  The Corps modified the dam between 1941 and 1951 as part of the Lac qui Parle Flood Risk Management project.  During floods, the Marsh Lake Dam is inundated by the Lac qui Parle pool and serves no significant flood risk management purpose. 

Marsh Lake lies within the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  In the fall, as many as 150,000 Canada geese use the management area at one time.  Marsh Lake is also home to Minnesota’s largest breeding colony of American white pelicans and several species of fish.  
The project features include:

  • Restoring the Pomme de Terre River to its natural channel,
  • Modifying the dam with a fishway for fish passage,
  • Constructing a drawdown water control structure, 
  • Constructing recreational features.

In combination, each of these features would contribute toward restoring river habitat, eliminating winter oxygen refuge for carp and providing for ecosystem connectivity.  The natural flooding and drying cycles could be restored, promoting growth of emergent vegetation, increasing waterfowl habitat and reducing sediment resuspension. 



The Chief of Engineers Report was signed in fiscal year 2012. With the Upper Minnesota River Watershed District (UMRWD), the Corps executed the design agreement in fiscal year 2014 and a construction project partnership agreement and contract award to RTS Shearing LLC in fiscal year 2016. The UMRWD’s share of the costs are funded by the state of Minnesota. Construction began in spring 2017 with expected completion in winter 2019.


The study was authorized by a resolution of the Committee on Public Works of the U.S. House of Representatives May 10, 1962.  This project was specifically authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.


Planning, engineering and design cost    $1.32 million (cost shared 65-35)

Construction cost (cost shared 65-35)

Federal                                            $7.55 million
Non-federal                                     $4.06 million

Total estimated construction cost         $11.61 million

Estimated total project cost                  $12.93 million

All federal funds have been appropriated through fiscal year 2017.

Ecosystem Restoration Marsh Lake Minnesota River St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers