Tribal Partnership Program: Sturgeon Lake

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published March 20, 2018
Updated: March 30, 2022
Purpose

The purpose of the project is to address sedimentation, erosion and degradation of culturally significant habitat on Prairie Island Indian Community’s tribal land in Sturgeon Lake. Priority objectives identified in the feasibility study, which will be carried forward in the design and implementation phase are to: (1) reduce shoreline erosion on the Buffalo Slough Island; and (2) improve/restore floodplain forest habitat on Buffalo Slough Island.

Location

The Prairie Island Indian Community is located in Pool 3 of the Mississippi River about 12 miles southeast of Hastings, Minnesota. Lands owned by the tribe include islands within and surrounding Sturgeon Lake, a backwater lake on the western side of the navigation channel of the Mississippi River.

Description

Sturgeon Lake is a relatively large area of moderate quality habitat. A high rate of sedimentation coupled with recent increases in flow have impacted bathymetric diversity and vegetation growth. Furthermore, higher flows and wave action have increased shoreline erosion rates, especially on Buffalo Slough Island.

The recommended plan in the final feasibility study identified the measures that would meet the objectives identified by the Prairie Island Indian Community: (1) building a rock bullnose at the north end of the island to prevent erosion; (2) building a berm and rock vanes to increase the size of the island and deflect the current away from the island, preventing erosion; and (3) building up the island with dredged material to smother invasive reed canary grass and planting floodplain forest trees to improve and restore habitat.

The Prairie Island Indian Community sent a letter of support for the measures in the feasibility study and a willingness to continue the project through the design and implementation phase.

Status

A feasibility cost-share agreement was executed on October 1, 2018, which initiated a study to analyze alternatives that will lead to ecosystem restoration to tribal lands in Sturgeon Lake. The feasibility study, with integrated Environmental Assessment, was completed and signed on October 2, 2020. The Corps and the Prairie Island Indian Community signed a Project Partnership Agreement for the design and implementation phase of the project on February 24, 2021. The design was finalized in August 2021 and construction began in September 2021 with an expected completion date of September 2023.

Authority

The Tribal Partnership Program is authorized by Section 203 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (Public Law 106‒541), as amended. The Tribal Partnership Program provides authority for the Corps, in cooperation with Indian nations, to study and determine the feasibility of carrying out projects that will substantially benefit Indian nations.

Funding

FY18-21 Feasibility Study                              ~$350,000

FY21-24 Design and Implementation      ~$1,301,000

     65/35 Cost Share, $484,000 Cost Share Waiver