Army Corps wants public input for lower Pool 4 habitat improvement project

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, posted the draft environmental assessment and seeks the public’s input for the Peterson Lake habitat improvement and modifications project to its website today, Oct. 18.

Peterson Lake is located downriver from Wabasha, Minnesota. Changes to the project, as planned by the Corps, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, include:

  • Repair breach work with rock on the northern side of the lake;
  • Close off access on the northern side of the lake to decrease flow into Peterson Lake;
  • Reconstruct and add rock to the middle lake access opening to decrease flow; and
  • Place dredged material on underutilized beach areas identified as forest restoration sites located near Peterson Lake.

These recommended modifications are necessary to better accomplish the goals and objectives of the project. The changes should improve aquatic habitat in approximately 15 acres of Peterson Lake in Lower Pool 4 of the Mississippi River for a variety of fish species including important sportfish such as bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass, yellow perch and northern pike. The project is a part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program and was originally completed in 1995.

Copies of the draft report and public notice can be found at: http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Home/Public-Notices/, the Wabasha Pioneer Club and the Wabasha Public Library. Questions concerning the project should be directed to Steve Clark, project biologist, at steven.j.clark@usace.army.mil. Formal comments on the project must be submitted by mail to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District commander, Attention: Regional Planning and Environment Division North, 180 Fifth St. E., Suite 700, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-1678.

All comments received will be made available to the public to include the possibility of being posted on a publicly accessible website. Individuals are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as home addresses or home phone numbers, in their comments, unless they do not object to such information being made available to the public.

University of Wisconsin wins FLW College Tournament on Mississippi River | Bass Resource

(Oct. 9, 2017) – The University of Wisconsin team of Turner Truttschel of Madison, Wisconsin, and Colin Steck of Waunakee, Wisconsin, won the FLW College Fishing Central Conference tournament on the Mississippi River Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces. The victory earned the Badgers’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship, scheduled for May 30-June 2 on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The duo said they spent the tournament picking apart five different areas in Pool No. 9. They said the areas were far enough off of the main river to be considered backwaters, but still had current pushing through them.

“Four of the spots we fished had one or two bigger fish in them, and one had a big school,” said Steck, a freshman majoring in pre-med. “They had grass, rocks and weeds and were anywhere from 1 to 5 feet deep.”

Truttschel, a freshman majoring in pre-business, said the duo caught their first fish on a topwater bait, and the rest on a Brovarney Baits Silicon Swim Jig with either a grub or minnow-style trailer.

“We also lost a good fish at our first spot early on the topwater, but ended up catching it later in the day around 2:30 (p.m.) on the swim jig,” said Truttschel. “Overall we caught around 10 keepers and ended up weighing two smallmouth and three largemouth.”

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Another success for the Children’s Therapy Center bass tounament | Dispatch-Argus

The 43rd annual Children’s Therapy Center Bass Tournament, launching out of the Albany Municipal Ramp, continues to be a premier event in the Quad-Cities area, and throughout the Midwest.

Jim Crowley, of Hook & Hunt TV, emceed the event for the third year in a row. This fishing tournament has more of a family feel than a hardcore, big-money bass tournament. Prizes were given to the top husband/wife team, top parent/child team, and even a drawing for top-five place-winnings for teams that did not bring a limit to the scales. Nearly every child under 10 years old left the event with a new fishing pole or some other new fishing gear.

The bass population in the Mississippi River continued to shine with a tournament record 19.52-pound bag of fish (five) winning the event. That is not bad considering this tournament is 43 years old. The 90-plus boats in the tournament brought nearly 700 pounds of bass to the scales.

Brothers Cole and Tanner Atkinson, of Camanche, Iowa, added their names to the short list of multiple-event winners. The brothers also won the event in 2014.

“Everything just went right”, said Cole shortly after weighing in the impressive catch. “We caught four keepers in Pool 13 on Spro Frogs, and our big fish in Pool 14 on a Fat Papa crankbait.” The brothers have spent a lot of time in the boat together as part of the St. Ambrose college fishing team that competed throughout the Midwest.

Second place went to Tom Boyton, DeWitt, and Jacob Crigger, Clinton, with a 17.34-pound bag.  They were also in Pool 13, throwing plastic frogs.

The husband/wife team of Gary and Mary Jones took third with another great bag of 17.18 pounds. They won the husband/wife award as well.

One thing that clearly stood out was the amount of high-school anglers participating in the event.  Many of them fished for their schools earlier in the year at Spring Lake, Pool 13. The observation highlights the next generation of anglers coming up, which will keep this particular tournament alive and well for another 43 years.

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Corps changes operations at Lock and Dam 8 to deter Asian carp invasion

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, recently changed how it operates Lock and Dam 8 on the Mississippi River in Genoa, Wisconsin, in an effort to impede the upstream movement of Asian carp.

The Corps changed the way it operates the spillway gates on this site in response to recommendations from a University of Minnesota research team led by Dr. Peter Sorensen. The proposed alterations are the result of several years of study of Asian carp movement and deterrent techniques funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. These changes were carefully designed to stop carp passage while having minimal effects on native fish, fishing and lock and dam infrastructure.

“Our research has showed that there were small flow imbalances under prior operating procedures that might have been allowing adult carp to swim through the dam,” Sorensen noted. “Making relatively small adjustments to gate operations will prevent this without affecting barge traffic and costs nothing.”

Sorensen explained that the team has also mounted underwater speakers in the lock gates to broadcast low-frequency noises that deter carp but are not known to affect important native species in the river and are not audible to people on the river.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, bigheaded and silver carp are now abundant and reproducing in Iowa, about 100 miles south of Genoa and continuing to move north. These fish are known for their voracious food habits and tendency to jump, startling boaters on the Mississippi.

“Lock and Dam #8 is now the only dam on the Mississippi River that has been optimized to reduce carp passage,” Sorensen said. “In the future, we hope to make additional adjustments to the gates and lock here and then farther upriver to decrease overall carp passage to just a few percent of present levels which already appear to be low.”

Corps project manager Nan Bischoff said, “The St Paul District is pleased to be able to assist with efforts to stop the movement of invasive species upriver and benefit native species in the river by making some relatively simple operational changes.”

The nearly 600 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the St. Paul District Fiscal Year 2016 $78 million budget, nearly 1,250 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $120 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.

Pool 14 habitat project will begin in 2018, pending funding | Clinton Herald

The largest habitat restoration project ever constructed in Pool 14 is nearing the final planning stages for the Beaver Island Habitat Restoration and Enhancement project. Construction for this nearly $20 million project is scheduled to begin in summer 2018, pending funding availability through the Rock Island District of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The meeting held in Clinton on Feb. 21 provided the most recent opportunity for public input. As a result, the project moved one step closer to implementation with design specifications in the final review process. The primary goals are restoration of year round aquatic habitat within the interior lakes of Beaver Island, diversification of the forest community, and improving side channel habitat for fish and mussels.

The project covers the southern three-fourths of Beaver Island. These lands are within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and are federally owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Corps of Engineers. The project is funded by the Upper Mississippi River Restoration program, a Corps funded program that addresses ecological needs on the Upper Mississippi River System to improve its environmental health and to increase our understanding of its natural resources.

 Beaver Island is one of the largest islands on the Upper Mississippi River and is the largest backwater complex in Pool 14. The island lies in the Mississippi River floodplain with the annual flood pulse controlling the composition of plant and animal communities. The project area is comprised of 1,678 acres of interconnected backwaters, secondary channels, wetlands, and floodplain habitat.

The restoration of deep water habitat within Beaver Island’s interior lakes is an important project feature. The deluge of spring and summer rains has added to the heavy silt loads being carried by the river. As swift moving water from the Mississippi River and Beaver Slough enter the calm backwater lakes, the silt settles to the bottom and fills the lakes with mud. Less than one inch of silt per year was normal in the past. We are now experiencing several inches of silt being deposited per year. Six to eight feet of mud need to be removed from these interior lakes to provide habitat for over-wintering fish that require low flows and oxygen rich water.

The project also must protect these interior lakes from future sedimentation. A primary source of silt comes from an inlet near the upstream end of Beaver Slough, called Upper Cut. Closing off this cut will significantly reduce the amount of sediment entering the backwater complex.

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Corps studies plans to create Lake Pepin islands | Rochester Post-Bulletin

RED WING — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday brought another plan for Pool 4 of the Upper Mississippi River District. This one is designed to help reduce erosion and improve water quality in Lake Pepin, said study planner Sierra Keenan with the Corps.

“We’re in the early stages of this study,” Keenan said. The Corps is developing a plan that would place islands on the north side of Lake Pepin to provide habitat and help environmental stability in the lake. “The objectives we have are to improve habitat for waterfowl and aquatic vegetation.”

Other goals of the project would be to dredge a route for motorboats to Bay City, Wis., dredge the backwaters to improve habitat for overwintering fish and improve or create new islands along the north side of Lake Pepin.

Tuesday’s meeting at the Red Wing Public Library was designed to introduce the concept and gather public input. Keenan emphasized that the plan for islands in Upper Pool 4 was not related to the dredge material management plan for Lower Pool 4. The Upper Pool 4 plan would, at most, use about 1 million cubic yards of dredge material, while the Lower Pool 4 plan will need to move more than 10 million cubic yards over 40 years.

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Pool 9 – Corps of Engineers to hold Conway Lake public meeting

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, has scheduled the Conway Lake Habitat and Rehabilitation public meeting for June 8.

The meeting will be held:

Date:               Thursday, June 8, 2017
Time:               6 to 8 p.m.
Location:         Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank Community Center, 370 Main St., Lansing, Iowa

The informal meeting will allow for an open exchange of information. A short slide show will be presented at 6:30 p.m., to explain the project and describe the construction work in more detail.  Representatives from partner agencies involved in the project will also be available.

The project, which is part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program, is located in Pool 9 immediately upstream of Lansing, Iowa. It includes protecting or restoring 321 acres of aquatic and floodplain forest habitat throughout the 1,170 acre project area, which includes Shore Slough and a portion of Phillipi Lake.

The draft feasibility project report and integrated environmental assessment is available for public review at http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Home/PublicNotices.aspx. Comments will be accepted until June 16. Comments on the report can be submitted to the District Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, 180 E. Fifth St., Ste. 700, St. Paul, MN 55101-1678. Commenters are requested to not include personal privacy information, such as home addresses or home phone numbers, in their comments unless they do not object to such information being made available to the public.

The nearly 600 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the St. Paul District Fiscal Year 2016 $78 million budget, nearly 1,250 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $120 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.

Harper’s Slough project resumes; expected to be completed this summer

St. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, reminds Mississippi River boating and fishing enthusiasts to exercise caution in and around Mississippi River Pool 9 this summer.

The Corps’ contractor, Newt Marine Service, from Dubuque, Iowa, began the final phase of an island restoration project this week. Construction is expected to finish this summer. The project is by Harpers Slough, near Lynxville, Wisconsin.

Activities include finishing topsoil placement and planting vegetation. Caution should be used while navigating near the construction site since heavy equipment may be used for the construction activities.

The project is a part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program, an environmental restoration program devoted to restoring habitat along the Mississippi River. Established in 1986, the Corps of Engineers has restored more than 45,000 acres, or 62 square miles, of river and floodplain habitat within the St. Paul District.

The Corps of Engineers asks everyone to practice water safety on the water this year. For tips and information on being safe while on the water, visit the St. Paul District website at: http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/WaterSafety.aspx

The nearly 600 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the St. Paul District Fiscal Year 2016 $78 million budget, nearly 1,250 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $120 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.

Pool 14 Beaver Island Habitat Rehabilitation Open House

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, is hosting a public open house Feb. 21 to discuss an ecosystem restoration plan for the Beaver Island Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project. The public open house will take place from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Erickson Center at 1401 11th Ave. in Clinton, Iowa.

Beaver Island Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project is part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program and is located in Clinton County, Iowa, in Pool 14 of the Upper Mississippi River. All Project lands are in Federal ownership and are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the UMR National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Savanna District.

During the open house a formal presentation will be given regarding the Beaver Island ecosystem restoration plan. Representatives from all of the agencies involved in the project will be available to discuss the proposed restoration plan at Beaver Island. There will be staff on hand to gather public feedback and answer questions. For those who are unable to attend the event in person, the Rock Island District is scheduled to broadcast the open house live on their Facebook page starting at 6 p.m. To view the live feed, visit: https://www.facebook.com/RockIslandDistrictUSACE.

For more information about the Beaver Island Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project, visit http://go.usa.gov/x9Hvz. For more information about the public meeting, contact the Rock Island District at (309) 794-5729 or email cemvr-cc@usace.army.mil.