Protecting and restoring the natural heritage of Lake Pepin

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Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance and Audubon Minnesota are partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore habitat, water quality, and small boat navigation at the head of the lake by constructing islands and dredging backwater bays. A federally funded feasibility study, which will model alternative designs for the project area, is expected to begin in early 2017.

Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance and Audubon Minnesota are partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore habitat, water quality, and small boat navigation at the head of the lake by constructing islands and dredging backwater bays. A federally funded feasibility study, which will model alternative designs for the project area, is expected to begin in early 2017.

This interactive mapping tool allows users to visualize county and watershed-level data in the Minnesota River Basin and track the implementation and impacts of best management practices (BMPs) in the following categories: (1) Improving water storage in the upstream landscape; (2) Managing riparian areas and implementing buffers on waterways; (3) Limiting soil erosion; (4) Managing nutrient usage and limiting loss. Learn more about the history of Lake Pepin and its connection to the Minnesota River Basin here.

This interactive mapping tool allows users to visualize county and watershed-level data in the Minnesota River Basin and track the implementation and impacts of best management practices (BMPs) in the following categories: (1) Improving water storage in the upstream landscape; (2) Managing riparian areas and implementing buffers on waterways; (3) Limiting soil erosion; (4) Managing nutrient usage and limiting loss.

Learn more about the history of Lake Pepin and its connection to the Minnesota River Basin here.

 
The light blue areas depict waters at the head of Lake Pepin which have fallen below a depth of 3 feet since measured in 1890. The darker blue areas show stretches of the river still greater than 3 feet deep - primarily the navigation channel, which the corps of engineers dredges to maintain a depth of 9 feet for barge transportation - though another 26 years of sediment should be factored in. Over the past 150 years, the rate of that sediment supply has increase ten-fold, from 79,000 t/yr. before c. 1830 to 876,000 t/yr. during the 1990s (Engstrom et al., 2009b; Gran et al., 2009; Mulla and Sekely, 2009; Schottler et al., 2010; Belmont et. al., 2011). Drawing conclusions from current sediment accumulation rates, the remaining volume of Lake Pepin (553 x 106 m3 in 1990) is anticipated to be filled completely in roughly 340 years (Engstrom et al., 2009b).  With the increased accumulation rates of approximately 3-4 cm / yr, the shallow upper third of Lake Pepin will lack recreational or commercial value within a century (Kelley and Nater, 2000a; Engstrom et al., 2009b).  Without the increased accumulation of sediment loading, today, Lake Pepin would be on average 1 m deeper, and could continue to provide recreational and commercial value for another 4,000 years (Kelley and Nater, 2000a; Engstrom et al., 2009b). 

The light blue areas depict waters at the head of Lake Pepin which have fallen below a depth of 3 feet since measured in 1890. The darker blue areas show stretches of the river still greater than 3 feet deep - primarily the navigation channel, which the corps of engineers dredges to maintain a depth of 9 feet for barge transportation - though another 26 years of sediment should be factored in.

Over the past 150 years, the rate of that sediment supply has increase ten-fold, from 79,000 t/yr. before c. 1830 to 876,000 t/yr. during the 1990s (Engstrom et al., 2009b; Gran et al., 2009; Mulla and Sekely, 2009; Schottler et al., 2010; Belmont et. al., 2011).

Drawing conclusions from current sediment accumulation rates, the remaining volume of Lake Pepin (553 x 106 m3 in 1990) is anticipated to be filled completely in roughly 340 years (Engstrom et al., 2009b).  With the increased accumulation rates of approximately 3-4 cm / yr, the shallow upper third of Lake Pepin will lack recreational or commercial value within a century (Kelley and Nater, 2000a; Engstrom et al., 2009b).  Without the increased accumulation of sediment loading, today, Lake Pepin would be on average 1 m deeper, and could continue to provide recreational and commercial value for another 4,000 years (Kelley and Nater, 2000a; Engstrom et al., 2009b).