Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Reno Bottoms, Pool 9, Upper Mississippi River

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published March 22, 2019
Updated: March 30, 2022
Purpose
Reno Bottoms map

The primary objective of this project is to protect, restore, or create resilient and diverse bottomland forests. The quality and extent of the unique forest and aquatic habitat in the Reno Bottoms project area has been declining over the past several decades. Human caused changes in hydrology, land use, and climate have increased water levels within the project area. Without action, the project area will continue to degrade. The quality of forest and aquatic habitat will decrease. Invasive grasses would expand into forests, limiting opportunities for smaller trees to grow and reducing habitat value. Additional loss of wetland habitat would adversely affect migrating waterbirds and songbirds who require the floodplain forest to stop and rest.

Location

The 14,000-acre Reno Bottoms area is located within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (refuge) in Houston County, Minnesota, and Allamakee County, Iowa, and is in Pool 9 between river miles 671‒682. The area is bounded on the west by the Canadian Pacific railroad, on the east by the main Mississippi River navigation channel, on the north by the Lock and Dam 8 dike and on the south by the Upper Iowa River. The closest communities to the project area are New Albin, Iowa, and Reno, Minnesota.

Description

Identification and evaluation of potential solutions to address the problems at Reno Bottoms is underway. Some potential actions to improve habitat include: forest plantings, soil placement to raise forest elevations, invasive species control, shoreline protection, improvements to backwater habitats, and side channel closure structures to lower water levels.

Status

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the planning phase in fiscal year 2019 and will complete a draft report in fiscal year 2022.

Authority

Congress originally authorized the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) Program in Section 1103 of the 1986 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) (Public Law 99‒662), codified at 33 U.S.C. § 652. Section 307 of WRDA 2020 (Public Law 116‒260) increased the authorized program funding to a combined $55 million annually.

The Corps will plan and design the project as part of a cooperative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Minnesota and Iowa Departments of Natural Resources and local interests.
 
Funding

Project design and construction costs will be 100% federal because the project is located on lands managed as a national wildlife refuge. Operation and maintenance costs will be 100% federal, a responsibility of the USFWS.

Funding to Date                                          $880,000

Estimated Total Project Cost                 $8,000,000


Learn more about
Reno Bottoms

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Listen to our biologists, foresters and natural resource managers discuss the proposed Reno Bottoms habitat restoration project.



Narrated presentation for the proposed Reno Bottoms habitat restoration project.