Upper Mississippi River – Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) Johnson Island Project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published April 9, 2024


Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability (NESP) is a long-term program of ecosystem restoration and navigation improvements for the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS). NESP will improve system capacity and reduce commercial traffic delays through construction of seven new 1,200-foot locks, mooring cells, and switchboat implementation.

Johnson Island is located near Trempealeau, Wisconsin, in Pool 6 of the Mississippi River. The study area spans the full island and nearby historical structural revetments and wing dams, located on the left descending side of the main channel, from approximate river miles 617-619. 

Island erosion, island dissection, and sedimentation have greatly reduced the quality and quantity of terrestrial and aquatic habitat in the project area. Project objectives are directed at improving conditions for fish, aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, maintaining emergent vegetation, maintaining submersed vegetation and island stabilization and nourishment to restore connectivity and promotion of floodplain forest regeneration.


This is a NESP study partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The study will consider alternatives including island building and enhancement, forest enhancement and creation, backwater restoration and dredging, island and shoreline protection and beneficial use of dredged material.


Project kickoff occurred in March 2024.  The Project Implementation Report is planned to span 18 months from 2024-2025 with design planned for 2026 and construction in 2027.


General Investigations - Title VIII of the Water Resources Development Act 2007


Project planning and design will be 100% federally funded. Project alternative and measures have not yet been identified. Features under the ordinary high-water mark qualify for full federal funding. Features above the ordinary high-water mark will require cost-sharing. Operation and maintenance costs will be the responsibility of the WIDNR.

Funds allocated to-date:                         $200K

Anticipated construction cost:                ~$15M