The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will participate in a national Corps of Engineers pilot program to use dredged material to improve habitat.
The Upper Pool 4 Islands Complex Project is one of 10 projects selected out of 95 proposals submitted throughout the United States. USACE’s engineers plan to develop islands in the Mississippi River at the Head of Lake Pepin to restore backwater habitat.
The Corps will beneficially use dredged material removed from Reads Landing Dredged Material Placement Site in Lower Pool 4, located just north of Wabasha, Minnesota, to construct the islands. The island construction project could use up to 500,000 cubic yards of dredged material that’s already been removed from the Mississippi River at the confluence of the Mississippi and Chippewa rivers.
“Building islands in Upper Lake Pepin will be a great success story for the Corps and its partners,” said Tom Novak, project manager. “Not only will we improve the environment with this project, we will also create some additional storage capacity for the dredging requirements near Wabasha.”
Corps engineers said the next step in the island construction project is to compare the costs and benefits of alternatives and put forward a selected plan for agency and public review. Construction could begin as soon as 2020. The project, authorized under Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, will be 100 percent federally funded.
According to the Corps, the island construction project will provide up to three years of additional dredged material storage capacity but will not solve the dredged material placement needs near Wabasha since the Corps removes approximately 250,000 cubic yards of dredged material annually from Lower Pool 4.