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UMRR Program - Steamboat Island HREP - Pool 14

Published March 8, 2019
Steamboat Island HREP - Pool 14, Upper Mississippi River Miles 502.5 to 506.5, Scott County, Iowa.

Steamboat Island HREP - Pool 14, Upper Mississippi River Miles 502.5 to 506.5, Scott County, Iowa.

Regional Program Manager
(309) 794-5428

Pool 14, Upper Mississippi River Miles 502.5 to 506.5, Scott County, Iowa

The Steamboat Island Project is located in the middle section of Pool 14 along the right descending bank of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR), between the town of Princeton and the Wapsipinicon River. The Project lands, part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (NWR), are federally-owned.

The Project area is approximately 2,630 acres of interconnected backwaters, secondary channels, wetlands, islands, floodplain habitat, and aquatic habitat. Areas considered as part of this Project include Steamboat Island, Steamboat Slough, an adjacent secondary channel complex, smaller islands southeast of Steamboat Island, and the forested areas south and north of the Wapsipinicon River. The Princeton State Wildlife Area is just west of the Project area.

The goals are to maintain, enhance, and restore quality habitat for all native and desirable plant, animal, and fish species and maintain, enhance, restore, and emulate natural river processes, structures, and functions for a sustainable ecosystem. The objectives identified to meet these goals are (1) maintain and/or increase habitat for protected species and species of special concern and refuge priority resources of concern; (2) protect, enhance, and restore areal coverage and diversity of forest stands and habitat and increase hard mast-producing trees, as measures in acres of elevated topography and number of hard-mast tree species present in the Project area; (3) increase year-round aquatic habitat diversity, as measures by acres and native fish use of spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitat; (4) maintain and improve acreage and topography of Steamboat Island and side channel islands; (5) protect backwater and interior wetland areas; and (6) maintain or modify side channel riverine hydrodynamic, sediment transport, and geomorphic processes in the Project area to benefit desirable aquatic habitat.

Potential Project Features include:
• Diversifying flow within Steamboat Slough
• Excavate channels in backwater areas
• Topographic diversity measures
• Timber stand improvement techniques
• Forest, scrub-shrub, and pollinator habitat enhancement
• Island restoration and protection

Human activity over the past two centuries within the UMR basin, floodplain and channel has altered the hydrology, topography and biotic communities present.  Years of silt deposition has allowed willows and silver maples to colonize the once-aquatic portions of the Project area, resulting in degraded aquatic and wetland complexes. Impoundment of the pool and permanently higher water tables have affected the health of floodplain habitat on islands and adjacent floodplain areas. These higher water tables are affecting forest composition and regeneration.  All of these alterations have reduced the quality and diversity of aquatic and floodplain habitats, impaired ecosystem functions and reduced the acreage of Steamboat Island and other smaller islands in the area.

Feasibility report has been initiated in 2017 and the report is scheduled for completion in 2020.

CG - Construction General

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost $8,182,000
Estimated Non-Federal Cost N/A
Estimated Total Project Cost   $8,182,000
Allocations Prior to FY 2019 $780,000
FY 2019 Allocation $375,000
FY 2019 Total Capability $375,000


Major Work Item Current Year
FY 2019:
Funds are being used to advance the feasibility report and to continue pre-project monitoring.