The project’s purpose is to support diverse and abundant native fish, wildlife and plants while sustaining a high level of environmental health and promoting recreation opportunities.
McGregor Lake is a 200-acre backwater lake in Pool 10 of the Mississippi River. The McGregor Lake project is located on the Wisconsin side of the Upper Mississippi River in the middle of Pool 10, near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The site lies within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
McGregor Lake and the surrounding area have encountered degradation in the recent past. Emergent and submergent vegetation are lacking, and shorelines are eroding, which impacts floodplain forest as well as the federally protected Higgins eye pearlymussel.
To mitigate these impacts, the project aims to: improve lake habitat for backwater fish species, increase emergent vegetation growth, increase submergent vegetation growth, increase age and species diversity of self-sustaining floodplain forest, and protect aquatic and terrestrial habitat by reducing erosion.
The construction contract was awarded in September 2020. Construction began in fall 2020; the project is anticipated to take five years to construct.
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 project is being planned and designed as part of a cooperative effort of the Corps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Iowa and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources and local interests.
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.
Construction Funding to Date $8,800,000
Estimated Project Construction Costs $17,500,000