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.

Flushing the mighty Mississippi | clintonherald.com

The prolonged period of high water has chronicled a miserable summer for river enthusiasts along Clinton’s Mississippi River paradise. The raging river currents of muddy water have carried many floating logs that have torpedoed unsuspecting boaters. Fortunately, record flood levels haven’t been reached but it may set records for seasonal high water events. The unseen impacts of prolonged high water are hidden below the murky depths of the river.

Prior to the 1930s construction of locks and dams that impounded the Upper Mississippi River, there was seasonal flooding that was representative of a natural river system. After the Great Flood of 1965 many communities, like Clinton, built levees to control flooding and minimize property damage. Extensive development within the historic flood plain followed. The miles of additional concrete and other structures now push river flows higher and into areas that are far from the historic flood plain.

Clinton is geographically situated in a transition zone where the Upper Mississippi River changes its environmental character. The river north of Clinton extending to Minnesota contains extensive flowing side channels, islands, braided backwaters and a myriad of wetlands. The river south of Clinton down to St. Louis is more constricted with few side channels, backwaters and wetland complexes. The open Lower Mississippi River (no locks and dams) below St. Louis is a fast flowing channel mostly bordered by levees.

A major effect of high water is increased sedimentation in our backwaters. In a typical year, there is less than an inch of mud added to the backwaters by sediment deposition. We can potentially expect several inches of mud to be deposited this year due to the high flows of sediment laden currents.

Beaver Island is a prime example of the impacts of sedimentation. An aerial photo shows that water flowing from Beaver Channel into Upper Cut is the prime contributor of sediment being trapped within the island’s interior. These formerly deep backwater lakes are now filled with several feet of mud. During normal water levels, the majority of these lakes are only a few inches deep. The planned Beaver Island habitat restoration project’s goal is to restore these lakes to deep water and to improve forest diversity.

High water flows also carry increased amounts of nutrients that run off from agricultural fields and urban areas. These nutrients accumulate along the 2,300 mile Mississippi River length and are ultimately dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. The result is a nearly 6,000 square mile Dead Zone where low levels of oxygen make it uninhabitable for marine life.

Fish and other aquatic species take advantage of high water events to expand their range. Asian carp migrated north during the 1993 flood, leaving the Lower Mississippi River and venturing into the Illinois River and Upper Mississippi River, a journey of many hundreds of miles. These unwelcome invaders are now silently moving upriver through open dams and will undoubtedly be established in our area within a few years.

More: Flushing the mighty Mississippi | clintonherald.com

Blackhawk Park on Pool 9 closed due to flooding

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is temporarily closing Blackhawk Park, located near De Soto, Wis., today, Sept. 23, due to recent heavy rains and high river levels.

Also closed are Mississippi River landings at Jays, Millstone and Bad Axe. The Corps will reopen the park and landings as conditions allow. For more information, please contact park staff at 608-648-3314.

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 Corps’ Fiscal Year 2015 $100 million budget, nearly 1,600 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $155 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.

Train derails near Ferryville; fuel spills into Mississippi River | lacrossetribune.com

A BNSF freight train derailed and leaked diesel fuel Thursday morning after tracks washed out north of Ferryville as a second night of heavy rains triggered flooding and mudslides.

Two locomotives and five rail cars left the tracks around 5:40 a.m. as the result of a washout north of a bridge over Rush Creek, according to the railroad.

The crew was not injured but were transported to a local hospital as a precaution, said BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth.

Two of the derailed cars were empty tankers; one was last used to haul ethanol and the other vegetable oil. The others were carrying drywall panels.

McBeth said about 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from one of the locomotives.

Sabrina Chandler, refuge manager for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, said it appeared most of the fuel spilled into the ballast and it’s not clear how much may have ended up in the river.

“I would say it’s pretty mild compared to what it could be,” Chandler said of the environmental threat. “Anytime anything goes in the river that doesn’t belong there it does create a concern.”

McBeth said BNSF crews placed absorbent boom around the site Thursday afternoon to prevent any diesel from seeping into the water and have had boats on the river.

She did not have an estimate for how long it would take to clean up the site or restore service on the line, which follows the Mississippi River from the Twin Cities to the Illinois border.

McBeth said an inspection found no damage to the concrete bridge over the creek.

Officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency were heading to the scene Thursday morning but access to the site is difficult because of damage from two days of heavy rains.

Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Marc Willis said the agency is aware of the derailment and has sent inspectors to the scene.

According to the National Weather Service, more than six inches of rain fell over parts of Vernon and Crawford counties between Tuesday night and Thursday morning, triggering numerous mudslides and flooding roadways.

A resident of nearby Victory, Wis., died when his home was swept down a hillside.

More: Train derails near Ferryville; fuel spills into Mississippi River | Local | lacrossetribune.com.

Source: Train derails near Ferryville; fuel spills into Mississippi River | lacrossetribune.com

18.19 wins 42nd Annual CTCQC tournament on Pools 13 and 14 | qconline.com

The 42nd annual “CTC Bass Tournament” held last Saturday at Albany Landing on Mississippi River pool 14 was another success.

Why? First and foremost, the stellar event — one of the longest running charity fishing tournaments in the nation — raised more than $12,000 to benefit the Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad Cities. That money will go toward professional therapy services to help QC area youngsters who have developmental disabilities and delays from birth, injury or illness achieve their highest level of independence.

Next, several bass-catching CTC tournament thresholds were set: the highest ever winning weight of 18.19 pounds, the top five two-angler teams all caught limits exceeding 15 pounds and the average weight of bass weighed-in was the highest ever at 2.44 pounds. That said, here’s something to ponder: is the Mississippi River becoming a better bass fishery? Or are “our” anglers getting better at catching bass? Or maybe some of both?

Bill Gretten of Blue Grass, and Mike Valster, of Pella, Iowa, took first place honors, a years worth of bragging rights, a couple of nice trophies and $3,000 cash for catching and bringing in the biggest five-bass CTC tournament limit ever to the scales.

Previous two-time CTC winners, brothers Adam and Scott Crigger took second place with a limit weighing 16.47 pounds. They reported catching about eight keepers in pool 13 using frogs and shad baits.

Third place went to Bobby Jones, of Fulton, and Bill Onken, of Morrison, with 15.36 pounds. They stayed in pool 14 and used chatterbaits to catch 10 keepers.

The biggest bass of the event, coming on a frog bait and weighing 4.72 pounds, was caught by Joe and Andy Murphy, both of Clinton.

The entry fee for the 2016 CTC Charity Tournament was raised to $120 per boat. Of the additional fee, $10 went to the CTC and $10 went into an interesting and fun tournament addition called “Beat the Pro.” BASS pro Mike Iaconelli caught the lowest weight five-bass limit (10.69 pounds) at the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament held in LaCrosse, Wis. So, all of the 19 teams who weighed-in more than 10.69 pounds were entered in a random drawing won by John and Steve Kovaka, both of Savanna, who received $860.

Other special awards this year included top parent/child team who were the Kovakas; top rookie team of Garrett Adamson, of Andalusia, and Blake VerStraete, of Atkinson; and top male/female team of Shawn and Nikki Eickert, both of Clinton.

This tournament was the third and final event of the Quad City Charity Fishing Trail for 2016. This year’s top anglers on the charity trail were Bobby Jones and Shawn Eickert, both of Fulton, who earned $750 cash for their sterling efforts. Second place and free entry into the 2017 charity events went to Tim Albrecht, of LeClaire, and Chuck Fiser, of Aledo. Roger Koopman, of Andalusia, and JJ Patton, of Eldridge, won a set of St. Croix fishing rods for their third-place finish.

The real winners of the event are again the youngsters who will receive professional therapy services provided by the Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad Cities.

Bob Groene is outdoors writer for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, he can be reached at groene@qconline.com

Source: 18.19 wins 42nd Annual CTCQC tournament on Pools 13 and 14 | qconline.com

DeFoe holds off Feider, wins Bassmaster Elite on Pools 7, 8, and 9 | Local Sports | winonadailynews.com

LA CROSSE, Wis. — If emotions were calibrated in the same manner as fishing line, as in 15-pound test, Ott DeFoe was stretched to the limit more times than not on Sunday.

Each time, DeFoe somehow managed to avoid disaster — one time, thanks to a fellow competitor.

Here he was, atop the Plano Bassmaster Elite Series event on the mighty Mississippi River angling for $100,000. He entered Sunday’s final day with a 2½-pound lead over a Bloomington, Minn., pro nicknamed “The Amazing Feider Man,” aka 31-year-old second-year Elite Series angler Seith Feider.

Yet, it was nearly 10 a.m. and almost four hours into the big-time tournament and he had not landed a single keeper. Thanks to a tip from fellow pro Gerald Swindel, that abruptly changed.

The Knoxville, Tenn., man went on to catch 12 pounds, 1 ounce Sunday to finish with a whopping 63 pounds, 10 ounces of bass, which topped Feider’s runner-up total of (62-7).

“Oh man, I don’t even know what to say… it’s been a long time coming,” said DeFoe, nearly overcome by emotion several times during his victory interview before a crowd estimated at more than 1,500 at Veterans Freedom Park near the Clinton Street launch.

“Dude, it is awesome. It is an incredible feeling and a feeling I will never forget. I want to feel it again, too.”

DeFoe had catches of 17-7, 17-11 and 16-7 leading up to Sunday’s final day, where a 107-competitor field had been narrowed to 50 (for Saturday), then to 12 (for Sunday). He was feeling good, feeling confident, but the Mississippi River doesn’t give up its bass easily, and DeFoe found himself struggling on the most important day.

“I don’t know where the wheels fell off, but I couldn’t find them,” DeFoe said. “I have to thank Greg Swindle. I saw him, and said, ‘Dude, I ain’t got a single one. I told him, ‘I will take any bone you have to throw.’”

More: DeFoe holds off Feider, wins Bassmaster Elite tournament | Local Sports | winonadailynews.com.

 

Bassmaster Elite Series Rolls into a Classic River Town | FishingWorld.com

(Aug 29, 2016 – Park Falls, WI) Soon, the cool winds of fall will begin to rumble down the Mississippi River valley at La Crosse, Wisconsin, decorating maple trees with crimson and yellow leaves, and trumpeting the arrival of the top bass anglers on the earth. Returning to a venue steeped in Midwestern river culture and an enduring competitive and recreational fishing tradition, The Bassmaster Elite circuit is set to pay a September visit to Old Man River from September 8-11.

St. Croix Rod pros and veteran tournament anglers James Niggemeyer and Brian Snowden will be competing at La Crosse, each in pursuit of four fat sacks of Mississippi River bass to carry them into the winner’s circle.

Both St. Croix Rod pros have stretched lines in the flowing waters near La Crosse previously, including Bassmaster Elite events in 2013 and 2012. Three-time Bassmaster classic qualifier James Niggemeyer calls Pools 7, 8 and 9 of the Mississippi, where contestants will be chasing both largemouth and bronzebacks, “a great fishery. On paper, it is an ideal place for me to fish to my strengths.”

Jeremiah Burish, from the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau adds that, beyond bass, “there are almost 120 species of fish that occupy the waters of the Upper Mississippi River, so there is never a shortage of fish to catch.” Furthermore, Burish reminds us that, “the river is a great asset to locals and visitors alike, and the word is getting out that the Mississippi is one of the best bass fisheries in the country.”

Indeed, the La Crosse area is no stranger to competitive fishing events, where anglers can cast a line in frequent bass and walleye tournaments on the river, or even drop a jig in ice fishing jamborees on backwater areas and inland lakes during the winter months. While previous Elite series events have visited La Crosse in June, this year’s penultimate event on the Bassmaster schedule rolls into western Wisconsin in September.

Brian Snowden, six-time Bassmaster classic qualifier and one of the hosts of Bass Pro Shop’s award-winning TV series “The Bass Pros,” offers some time-tested perspective on an early fall river event. “Current will be a major factor in determining fish position. Locations close to the main river channel will be important locations to consider.” Furthermore, with recent rains in the watershed causing river stage and flow to rise to uncharacteristic levels for fall, Snowden anticipates, “lots of floating grass that has been dislodged by high water and cooling water temperatures.” James Niggemeyer is excited about autumn on the river, adding that, “fish will be in different places than they were in early summer, opening up new patterns that complement the ways we fished in previous events.”

Interestingly, these two St. Croix pros are focusing on two distinct ways to target fall bass on the Mississippi. Snowden is leaning towards a topwater approach with frogs and walk-the-dog baits fished around distinct current breaks an rip-rap shorelines and docks. For these presentations, Snowden relies on 7’4” St. Croix Avid X heavy power, fast action rod (AXC74HF), a rod with, “a quick tip but plenty of backbone for driving hooks home and moving fish rapidly away from cover.” In contrast, Niggemeyer plans to cast jigs and soft plastics around aquatic vegetation, which is found in abundance near La Crosse. For jig presentations, the 7’1” St. Croix Legend Elite medium-heavy power, extra fast action rod (EC71MHXF) provides Niggemeyer with, “crucial sensitivity for detecting and distinguishing cover and bottom types without sacrificing power, helping to maximize the number of fish I hook and land.”

More: Bassmaster Elite Series Rolls into a Classic River Town | FishingWorld.com.