A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District contractor, LS Marine of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, will begin island construction work in Pigs Eye Lake this week.
USACE, in partnership with Minnesota’s Ramsey County, awarded a $14.7 million contract last June to LS Marine, Inc., to restore habitat on Pigs Eye Lake, located in upper Pool 2 of the Mississippi River a few miles from downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.
The contractor plans to beneficially reuse approximately 400,000 cubic yards of dredged material, or river sand, from the Pine Bend Island placement site to build six islands within the lake.
The initial construction will focus on building the island foundations and will largely be done underwater via hydraulic material placement. Construction is expected to crest the water surface later this year.
Once complete, the project will enhance and restore backwater habitat by creating island and wetland features for birds and fish. The project will also improve the water quality by reducing wind fetch.
The project features include island construction with sand benches, marsh habitat restoration and terrestrial plantings. The total project footprint will be approximately 40 acres and will provide benefits to more than 600 acres of Pigs Eye Lake and the surrounding habitat.
According to the Corps, heavy construction equipment will be used to place the material on the islands and boaters are asked to use caution if they are in the area as the lake will be an active construction site. Construction is expected to continue through November this year and will resume next spring with the final topsoil placement and vegetation planting.