The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in partnership with the  Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is continuing construction at McGregor Lake near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Marquette, Iowa, to create islands to restore floodplain forest habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds. The partners had a site visit to view progress July 5.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in partnership with the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is continuing construction at McGregor Lake near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Marquette, Iowa, to create islands to restore floodplain forest habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds. The partners had a site visit to view progress July 5. (Photo Credit: Melanie Peterson) VIEW ORIGINAL
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in partnership with the  Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is continuing construction at McGregor Lake near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Marquette, Iowa, to create islands to restore floodplain forest habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds. The partners had a site visit to view progress July 5.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in partnership with the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is continuing construction at McGregor Lake near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Marquette, Iowa, to create islands to restore floodplain forest habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds. The partners had a site visit to view progress July 5. (Photo Credit: Melanie Peterson) VIEW ORIGINAL
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in partnership with the  Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is continuing construction at McGregor Lake near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Marquette, Iowa, to create islands to restore floodplain forest habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds. The partners had a site visit to view progress July 5.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in partnership with the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is continuing construction at McGregor Lake near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Marquette, Iowa, to create islands to restore floodplain forest habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds. The partners had a site visit to view progress July 5. (Photo Credit: Melanie Peterson) VIEW ORIGINAL

Construction is underway at the McGregor Lake Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project, or HREP, near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and Marquette, Iowa.

Through partnerships with the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and the Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa departments of Natural Resources, the St. Paul District is creating islands to restore floodplain forest habitat for wildlife.

“The goal of this project is to increase island heights to decrease tree die-off due to recent flooding and increase fishery habitat by dredging those areas deeper,” said John Henderson, district project engineer.

It wouldn’t be possible without the partnerships according to Henderson. “Our partners are key to everything we do, we all have the same common goal. We all want to do the most with the money we have,” Henderson said.

More than 57 million pounds of rock have been used in addition to the beneficial use of over 300,000 cubic yards of channel maintenance material that was taken from the river and would have otherwise been taken off site, he explained.

This fall, construction workers will dredge another 200,000 cubic yards of channel maintenance material, bringing the total project usage to nearly half a million cubic yards of material from four different dredging sites.

“The contracts are based on specialized construction,” Henderson said. “They are using heavy construction equipment such as floating excavators, tract haul trucks, hydraulic dredges and barges with multiple excavators operating them.”

All that construction will be worth it for future generations according to Megan McGuire, project biologist.

“We are creating islands to restore floodplain forest habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds,” McGuire said. “The Upper Mississippi River is a critical flyway for hundreds of bird species, many of which use the green ribbon of forest and wetland to migrate from the Gulf of Mexico to their breeding grounds in the Midwest and further north. Forests take decades to mature, so we need to plan now so our children can watch the birds make their epic journey north.”

The project is part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration, or UMRR, program, which ensures the coordinated development and enhancement of the Upper Mississippi River system with primary emphasis on habitat restoration projects and resource monitoring. In the more than 30-year history of the program, more than 55 habitat projects benefiting more than 100,000 acres on the Upper Mississippi River, from Minneapolis to St. Louis, have been completed.

“I think we’re really moving into a new era of work on the Mississippi River,” Henderson said.

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