US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District


Continuing Authorities Program: Beneficial Use of Dredged Material, Section 204, Upper Pool 4 – Lake Pepin

Published Sept. 16, 2016
Updated: Sept. 18, 2019

The project area is located near the head of Lake Pepin in Upper Pool 4 of the Mississippi River. The proposed project area would be located between river mile 780 and 792 in the backwater complexes adjacent to the main channel.

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 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. Concerns over habitat deficiencies in Upper Pool 4 include reduced habitat diversity and quality, lack of aquatic vegetation and invertebrates, and reduced abundance of fish and wildlife.


The Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance requested a study in December 2015. A feasibility study was initiated in 2017 and will be completed in 2020. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is the non-federal sponsor.

The project will utilize dredged material from Lower Pool 4 to improve the ecosystem at the head of Lake Pepin. The operations and maintenance program will pay up to the typical cost of dredged material disposal (100 percent federal) for any dredged material used in the project. Also, the project was selected for the Section 1122 pilot program, which provides the authority to consider having the federal government pay the cost of transportation and placement of dredged material for the project above the typical cost (federal standard). Such additional costs would be funded through the Section 204 program. Potential alternatives may include the construction of new islands of various sizes, dredging and improving adjacent floodplain forest that would create a range of habitat types for fish and wildlife.


Section 204 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1992, as amended. Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.


The feasibility study will be prepared at full federal expense. Design and implementation phase of the project will be cost shared at 65 percent federal and 35 percent non-federal for the costs above the operations and maintenance program, with a total federal maximum contribution not to exceed $10 million.

Federal funds allocated to date                  $550,000