Lake Pepin’s ready for a brighter future

Scuttlebutt Magazine, April 2018

Note–This is the second and final installment of a series exploring the issues affecting Lake Pepin. Last month we focused on the environmental issues that affect recreational boating. This month, we look at the economic and lifestyle implications that are impacting the communities along the river and the people who call those communities home. Bruce Claflin, Scuttlebutt Magazine

By Mackenzie Consoer, Assistant Director Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance

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Viewpoint: Citizens should attend Lake Pepin Restoration meeting

Red Wing Republican Eagle, 3/ 28/2018

By Rylee Main, Executive Director, Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance

1. What is the restoration project?

The restoration project at the upper end of Lake Pepin is designed to improve fish and wildlife habitat in the areas most impacted by shallow, muddy water. Constructing new islands and extending peninsulas will protect vulnerable areas from wind to create pockets of clear, undisturbed water that support healthy beds of aquatic vegetation.

The project is viable because special federal funds are available to utilize dredge material from the navigation channel to construct the base of the islands. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is covering 65 percent of the projects costs plus an expected $6 million for material transportation. Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance is responsible for fundraising the local cost-share, estimated between $3-5 million.

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Project is first step to restore Upper Lake Pepin

Rochester Post Bulletin, 3/8/2018

Like many waters in southern Minnesota, it is impaired by excess sediment and phosphorus, both of which threaten cascading impacts that could eventually lead to ecological collapse. Sediment accumulation is a particular concern since it is causing social impacts, such as reduced accessibility to upstream areas and adjacent communities.

A sustainable solution will require upstream mitigation, but local restoration is also necessary to manage the cumulative impacts and sustain current uses on the lake.  

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Sediment is causing record boat groundings in Lake Pepin: Restoration efforts need widespread support

Scuttlebutt Magazine, March 2018

Boat groundings in Lake Pepin, the widest section of the Mississippi River, reached an all-time high in 2017. Several grounding events were accompanied by significant health and financial injuries. The main culprit is sediment filling in Lake Pepin, a natural process exacerbated by upstream land practices. Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance (LPLA), a grassroots organization created in response to sedimentation, has been at the helm informing the public about impacts such as boat groundings, isolated communities, and the lake’s ecological vulnerability to collapse. By educating lake users, they hope to mobilize support for a large-scale restoration project, which requires a 35% local cost-share.

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Impaired lake looking for friendship

Red Wing Republican Eagle, 1/11/2018

A decade ago, neighbors living in the beautiful riverfront community of Wacouta began to notice that their island was growing.

Sediment had collected on its shores and was increasing the footprint of the small island in the bay. Down river, sediment collected in the bed of Lake Pepin as well.

By 2009 these concerned residents were heavily involved in the sediment runoff issue — so much so that they organized to form the nonprofit Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance. Since then, the aim of LPLA has been to save this beloved and geographically unique body of water from further pollution.

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Losing Lake Pepin: Time for unity, action against sedimentation

Red Wing Republican Eagle, 3/10/2018

As reported by Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, boat groundings in upper Lake Pepin reached an all-time high last summer. Some readers commented that the danger is most formidable for visiting and infrequent boaters. While accurate, the rest of us aren’t immune from the underlying ailment facing Lake Pepin. Sedimentation is nearing ecological and social tipping points that will be disastrous for everybody. It’s time for us to heed the warnings and mobilize together for action.

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Boaters Beware: Upper Lake Pepin Boat Groundings at an All-Time High

Red Wing Republican Eagle, 11/28/2017

Sedimentation continues to fill upper Lake Pepin and wreak havoc for boaters as groundings reach an all-time high. While the exact number of grounded boats is unknown, the local tow boat companies and the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office attest that this year may have set a record number.

With sedimentation rates 10 times above normal, low water levels this year created dangerous conditions for boat navigation with little room for error. The problem gains concern just as planning commences to strategically dredge areas that have filled in at the upper end of the lake.

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