US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District

Civil Works Public Notices

Keithsburg Division Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project, Upper Mississippi River Restoration Feasibility Report with Integrated Environmental Assessment

Published July 3, 2018

Public Comment Request

The US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District (District) requests your review of a report titled, Upper Mississippi River Restoration Feasibility Report with Integrated Environmental Assessment for the Keithsburg Division Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project, dated June 2018. The District is interested in your review and comments regarding the alternative analysis for this project. The District will finalize the report after you have had a chance to comment.

A public meeting will be held July 16, from 4-6 pm at the New Boston Community Center, 502 Main Street, New Boston, Illinois. For those unable to attend in person, the event will be broadcast live via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RockIslandDistrictUSACE starting at 4 p.m. on July 16. For more information about the public meeting, contact the Rock Island District at (309) 794-5729 or email cemvr-cc@usace.army.mil. To review and comment on the draft report, visit https://go.usa.gov/xQHBQ.

To request a paper copy or CD, contact Ms. Bre Popkin of our Environmental Compliance Branch, 309/794-5817, email: Breann.K.Popkin@usace.army.mil, or by writing to our address:

US Army Engineer District, Rock Island
 Corps of Engineers, ATTN: Bre Popkin
 Clock Tower Building – PO Box 2004
 Rock Island, IL 61204-2004

Please furnish your comments no later than July 20, 2018, to Ms. Popkin of our Environmental Compliance Branch, 309/794-5817, email: CEMVR_Planning@usace.army.mil, or by writing to our address above.

 

PROJECT INFORMATION

The Keithsburg Division Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project (HREP) (Project) is located in Pool 18 along the left descending bank of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR), immediately north of the City of Keithsburg in Mercer County, Illinois, between river miles (RM) 428.0 and 431.0. The Project is bordered by the Edwards River to the north, Pope Creek to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west. It is separated from the Mississippi River by a 3-mile-long berm. The Project lands, part of the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), are federally-owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Rock Island District (District) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Corps-owned lands are out granted to the USFWS for management through a cooperative agreement dated February 14, 1963, and an amended cooperative agreement dated July 31, 2001.

The Project area is a 1,400-acre backwater complex of interconnected backwaters, wetlands, and floodplain habitat. Human activity over the past two centuries within the UMR basin, floodplain, and channel has altered the hydrology, topography, and biotic communities present. Water level management capability is limited and uncontrolled flood events result in heavy sediment accumulations. Frequent inundation inhibits island forest regeneration and causes increased mortality of mature trees. All of these alterations have reduced the diversity and quality of aquatic habitat, reduced the acreage and diversity of the native floodplain forest and reduced the depth and quality of wetlands. While these stressors are likely to continue, as will the decline in quality of habitats, this Project provides an opportunity to improve the quality and diversity of critical habitats.

 

PROPOSED AND ALTERATIVE ACTIONS

Proposed Action
The Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) would restore degraded environmental conditions within the backwater and floodplain forest habitats by providing reliable water level management capabilities and implementing timber stand improvement actions. Perimeter berm enhancements such as a spillway, gated control structures, slope improvements, and a pumping station positively impacts management of water levels, while tree releases, girdling, interspersed plantings, and coppicing of buttonbush improves the overall timber stand. These actions will improve aquatic and forest diversity with a resulting improvement in vegetation response and use by migratory birds and resident wildlife.

In total, 30 alternatives were considered during the planning process, which are described in Chapter 5 of the report. A focused array of alternatives was determined by using the IWR Planning Suite to generate a list of Cost Effective and Best Buy Plans.