Ribbon cutting for Harpers Slough and Conway Lake projects

The St. Paul District, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently celebrated Earth Day with a ribbon cutting for two of its habitat restoration projects: Harpers Slough and Conway Lake.

Photo by Melanie Peterson, USACE

Both projects are part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration, or UMRR program.

The $5.3 million Conway Lake project, just upstream of Highway 82 on the Mississippi River included the construction of floodplain forests and berms created from main channel dredging stockpiles.

The project enhanced habitat, improved dissolved oxygen in Conway Lake and improved winter habitat conditions. This project restored 1,170 acres of aquatic and floodplain forest habitat.

The $2.4 million Harper Slough project, just upstream of Lock and Dam 9, near Lynxville, Wisconsin, protects existing islands and constructed additional islands using material from the backwater and main channel.

The project will slow the loss of existing islands, reduce the flow of sediment-laden water into the backwaters, reduce turbidity and increase the diversity of land and shoreline habitats.

Habitat restoration work was completed in 2017, however record flooding in 2018 and 2019 caused erosion and prevented the islands from establishing vegetation.

According to USACE, the project restored 1,680 acres of aquatic and island habitat.