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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
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332 Minnesota St., Suite E1500
St. Paul, MN 55101

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Corps of Engineers closes out Sand Hill River ecosystem restoration project

Published Feb. 28, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, recently closed out its Sand Hill River Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration project.

The intent of this project included restoring ecosystem connectivity in the upper Sand Hill River and its tributaries by facilitating upstream fish movement and providing access to spawning, rearing and seasonal habitat for fish species in the lower Sand Hill River and the Red River of the North.

The Corps had originally constructed a major drainage project along the Sand Hill River in the 1950s. The project enlarged an existing state ditch and channelized the upstream and downstream portions of the Sand Hill River connecting to the state ditch. As part of the channel striating, four concrete grade control structures were constructed. These four structures created 4 to 6.5 foot changes in bed grade which made the river impassable for fish under normal flow conditions. The fish blockages isolated spawning and rearing habitat in the upper reaches of the Sand Hill River and its tributaries.

As part of this restoration project, the drop structures were lowered and rock riffles were added to reduce the channel slope and enable fish passage to allow for upstream migration during spawning season. Construction began in the summer of 2016 and was completed in late 2018.

The Corps completed its project administrative requirements last month and has transitioned the project back to the local sponsor, the Sand Hill River Watershed District.

Final project costs came to $4.4 million with the Corps providing $3.3 million of this amount.

Release no. UNRELEASED