The St. Paul District, along with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Upper Minnesota River Watershed District, oversaw the rerouting of the Pomme de Terre River, near Ortonville, Minnesota, on Oct. 1.
After a contracting crew excavated into the Marsh Lake Dam embankment, constructed in the 1930s, the Pomme de Terre River was free to flow into its natural channel for the first time in nearly 80 years.
“This river had a lot of sediment going into Marsh Lake, making it shallow and preventing vegetative growth and blocking a migration pathway for walleye and northern pike between Lac qui Parle and the Pomme de Terre river,” said Shahin Khazrajafari, a district project manager. “Now that it’s rerouted, and further with us eventually being able to control Marsh Lake’s water level, suitable habitat will once again be restored for native fish and migratory wild life at Marsh Lake.”
The river restoration is one of three project features as part of the Marsh Lake Ecosystem Restoration Project, which aims to improve habitat in the area. The other two features include a water drawdown structure (currently under construction) and fish passage (coming soon).
Immediately following removal of the embankment, staff from Corps of Engineers and Minnesota DNR began relocating mussels impacted by the river restoration.
The Marsh Lake Ecosystem Restoration Project is the result of years of study and observation by the Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Minnesota DNR and eventual project sponsor in the UMWD, and is on-schedule to be complete in winter 2019. The Marsh Lake Dam is on the Minnesota River, and was completed as part of the Lac qui Parle Flood Risk Management Project.
For more information, visit the project page: www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Home/Projects/Article/571148/marsh-lake-ecosystem-restoration-project/