Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program: Lake Winneshiek

Updated March 2017
Published April 12, 2017
Lake Winneshiek is a 6,000 acre backwater lake on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River navigation channel in lower Pool 9 about 4 miles downstream from Lansing, Iowa. The site lies within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

Many of the natural islands in Lake Winneshiek have eroded and disappeared. These islands served to break up wind fetch and wave action, reduce turbidity and provide protection to shallow aquatic areas supporting aquatic plant beds. The increased wave action and associated turbidity have contributed to the observed loss of aquatic plant beds used by migratory waterfowl.

The proposed project would create two islands, each about 8,000 feet long, in the center of Lake Winneshiek to reduce wave action in this large, open water area. If suitable construction material can be found in the backwater area, dredging would provide up to 20 acres of additional deepwater habitat. About 1,200 acres of backwater area would be directly affected by the project.

Planning for the project will resume in 4th quarter of FY2017.

The Lake Winneshiek Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project will be planned under the authority of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration – Environmental Management Program. This program was authorized by Section 1103 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 and reauthorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 1999.

The project will be planned and designed as part of a cooperative effort of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wisconsin and Iowa Departments of Natural Resources and local interests.

Project design and construction costs would be 100-percent Federal because the project is located on lands managed as a national wildlife refuge. Operation and maintenance costs would be 100-percent Federal (a responsibility of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Federal cost $7 million

Non-Federal cost $0

Total estimated cost $7 million

Funding allocated through fiscal year 2016 $25,000