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Harpers Slough Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project      

St. Paul District

Pool 9, Upper Mississippi River, Miles 650 - 655, Allamakee County, Iowa, Congressional District: IA - 1

Partners

  • USFWS
  • IADNR
  • WIDNR 

Description

Harpers Slough area is a 3,510-acre backwater area located primarily on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River in Pool 9, about 3 miles upstream of Lock and Dam 9. The site is in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The area is used heavily by tundra swans, Canada geese, puddle and diving ducks, black terns, nesting eagles, bitterns, and cormorants, and is also significant as a fish nursery area.  Many of the islands in the area have been eroded or lost because of wave action and ice movement.  This allows more turbulence in the backwater area, resulting in less productive habitat for fish and wildlife.  Harpers Slough is one of the few remaining areas in lower pool 9 where high quality habitat could be maintained. 

Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 3510
  • State(s) Covered: IA, WI
  • Land Ownership: Federal
  • Management Agency: USFWS
  • Management Authority: Refuge

Features

The proposed project will protect five existing islands and construct an additional seven islands using material from the backwater and main channel. The project will slow the loss of existing islands, reduce the flow of sediment-laden water into the backwaters, reduce turbidity and increase the diversity of land and shoreline habitat.

  • Restore or protect about 53,000 feet of islands using material from the backwater and the main channel.
  • Slow the loss of existing islands, reduce the flow of sediment-laden water into the backwaters, reduce turbidity, and increase the diversity of land and shoreline habitats. About 7,000 feet of islands in the lower portion of the area would be stabilized. 

Milestones

  • Feasibility Report (Definite Project Report) was completed in July 2014.
  • Construction Contracts:
    • A single construction contract was awarded in September 2014, with remaining options exercised in October 2014
    • Construction began in spring 2015 and was completed in August 2017
    • Island tree plantings will be initiated and completed in spring 2018
    • A project dedication is planned for spring 2018