United for Restoration.
The river ecosystem throughout Lake Pepin has been significantly affected by sedimentation and degraded water quality. Sedimentation and sediment re-suspension have caused a loss in water depth diversity of backwater lakes and isolated wetlands, poor water clarity, a loss in aquatic vegetation, and reduced habitat for fish and wildlife. A reduction in sediment loading to Lake Pepin via mitigation is critical for long-term sustainability. In the meantime, management efforts are needed to ensure Lake Pepin can continue to support the many environmental and public uses dependent on its proper functioning.
We need community backing to fundraise the local share of a critical restoration project that would create new islands engineered to alter the distribution of incoming and resuspended sediment. Island construction has already been done successfully throughout other portions of the Mississippi River and is expected to have numerous benefits for Lake Pepin. The Army Corps will pay 65% of project costs above and beyond the cost of their normal maintenance work, and the remaining portion is left to the local sponsor. Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance and Audubon Minnesota are working in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a federally funded feasibility study expected to start in early 2017 and last 1-2 years before starting.
To learn more, read our blog post: Your Questions Answered: The Lake Pepin Restoration Project
Become a member and help us secure the support to improve habitat and small boat navigation at the head of Lake Pepin for future generations. Or ask your community to support the project with a letter of resolution!
Understanding Island Construction
The aerial photos below show island construction projects already done along the Mississippi River. They are screenshots from an interactive web application called "Life and Death on the Mississippi River" that was created by The Center for Global Enviornmental Education at Hamline University in St. Paul. Users can learn about changes to the Mississippi River throughout time, learn how island construction is an effective management strategy, and even practice choosing appropriate locations for island construction projects.
1. Increase emergent & floating leafed aquatic vegetation
Stressor: Wind/wave action, water clarity.
Restoration Measure: Bank protection, island restoration/creation, creation of emergent wetlands, seasonal water level variation through moist soil management, isolated wetlands.
2. Increase submerged aquatic vegetation.
Stressor: Wind/wave action, water clarity
Restoration Measure: Bank protection, island restoration/creation
3. Redirect sediment accumulation to improve habitat and species diversity.
Stressor: Wind/wave action, rate of sediment deposition, hydraulic connectivity
Restoration Measure: Bank protection, island restoration/creation, closure structures, desirable habitat areas connectivity
4. Improve or maintain habitat for riverine aquatic species.
Stressor: Wind/wave action, river currents, lack of substrate and bathymetric diversity
Restoration Measure: Bank protection, island restoration/creation, flowing channels
5. Improve or maintain habitat for migratory birds.
Stressor: Lack of habitat and available forage
Restoration Measure: Island restoration/creation, establishment of emergent marsh or isolated wetlands, moist soil management
6. Improve or maintain habitat for backwater fish.
Stressor: Hydraulic connectivity, lack of protected overwintering fish habitat, including areas >4 feet deep meeting water quality criteria
Restoration Measure: Bank protection, island restoration/creation, closure structure, habitat dredging (>4 feet)