The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, awarded a $1.6 million contract to Spruce Valley Corporation of Middle River, Minnesota, on September 30, to improve fish passage in the Sand Hill River near Fertile, Minnesota.
A restoration plan completed by the St. Paul District and approved by its Headquarters in 2014 recommended several measures to improve fish passage to include constructing rock structures to decrease the slope of the river while creating resting areas for migrating fish.
The Corps of Engineers and the Sand Hill Watershed District signed an agreement to work together to complete this project in October 2014.
To complete the first phase of the project, the Corps awarded Spruce Valley Corporation a contract to construct rock arch rapids roughly 120 feet to 180 feet downstream of the three control structures. The project also consists of reshaping/cutting portions of the concrete structures.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.
The Corps is currently working on the design for the second phase of the project which will focus on modification of the fourth drop structure. The Corps will cover 75 percent of the costs for this project, and the Sand Hill Watershed District will cover the rest through a grant from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.