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Marsh Lake ecosystem restoration project receives federal authorization

Published June 10, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Marsh Lake environmental restoration project achieved a major milestone today, June 10, when President Barack Obama signed the Water Resource Reform and Development Act of 2014 into law. 

This act, last passed in 2007, provides authorization for development of projects by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers across the nation. The Marsh Lake project, near Ortonville, Minn., is among the projects newly authorized for construction. 

The Marsh Lake project involves restoring the environment by improving the waterfowl habitat and the aquatic species in the area. The restoration plan includes rerouting the Pomme de Terre River to its historic channel, constructing a drawdown structure and a fish passage at the Marsh Lake Dam and breaching the abandoned fish pond at the dam. At less than 5 percent of the average cost for a habitat restoration project of this size, the Marsh Lake project is expected to provide significant return in environmental and habitat restoration benefits. 

“This project is highly cost-effective, and will restore the environment at Marsh Lake and make it a much more habitable place for fish, waterfowl and other migratory birds passing through the area,” said Shahin Khazrajafari, St. Paul District project manager. “The investment in this project will benefit the nation’s environment and natural resources for generations.” 

Now that the project has been authorized by Congress, the next step includes appropriation, or funding. In the meantime, the Corps is working in partnership with the Upper Minnesota River Watershed District, as the non-federal sponsor, as well as other external stakeholders such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, to design the ecosystem restoration features.

The nearly 650 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2011 $175 million budget, nearly 2,800 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $271 million to the national economy. For more information, see



Public Affairs

Release no. 14-052