Rock Island District Public Notices

Pool 12 Floodplain Forest Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project, River Mile 557.0 – 583.0, Upper Mississippi River dated April 2024

USACE Rock Island District
Published May 13, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District (District), requests your review of the Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (EA) titled, Pool 12 Floodplain Forest Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project, dated April 2024. The Rock Island District is interested in your review and comments regarding the alternative analysis and project outcomes. The District is also letting the public know how the District plans to meet its environmental compliance requirements. The plan can be found at the following link:

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the alternative analysis and proposed alternative for this project through June 1, 2024.

Comments can be submitted through email at:, or by writing to the address below.

To request a paper copy or CD, contact the District’s Environmental Compliance Branch at 309-794-5573, email, or write to:

Department of the Army
US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District
Attn: Moratz (PD-C)
Clock Tower Building
P. O. Box 2004
Rock Island, IL 61204-2004

The Pool 12 Forestry Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project (HREP) is located in portions of Jo Daviess County in Illinois and Dubuque and Jackson Counties in Iowa. The Project area covers approximately 26 miles of Pool 12 in the Upper Mississippi River, from Lock and Dam 12, river mile (RM) 557.0, near Bellevue, Iowa, to Lock and Dam 11, RM 583.0, in Dubuque, Iowa.

The vast majority of bottomland islands and backwater lakes found in Pool 12 are federally owned and are currently managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. With the exception of Nine-Mile Island at river mile 573.0 and Scott Island at river mile 561.0, most of this land is located on the Illinois side of the river in Jo Daviess County.

The study area (Pool 12) is comprised primarily of a series of islands, backwater channels, and backwater lakes modified or created following construction of Lock and Dam 12 in 1939. This construction contributed to an abundance of deep, lentic, backwater habitat and created a less diverse floodplain forest within Pool 12. All lands are in Federal ownership. The Project, which would be 100 percent federally funded, is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Project objective is to protect, restore, or create naturally regenerating, resilient, and diverse floodplain forest habitat. The Project objective was developed by collecting input from agency master plans, aligning with Upper Mississippi River Restoration priorities, and coordinating with Project sponsors and the Project Delivery Team. The scope of this study focuses on the entire pool and addresses the primary problems in this study area. As guided by USACE policy, objectives were developed with a duration of 50 years as the study period of analysis. Construction is currently projected to begin in Fiscal Year 2026. A 10-year construction period is anticipated with construction finishing in 2036. Measures considered for this study include creation of ridge and swale topography, shoreline protection, herbaceous wetland restoration, and invasive species conversion, and implementation of timber stand improvement techniques, including planting, thinning, coppice-cutting, soil scarification, and invasive species management.

Costs and habitat benefits were estimated for the final array of alternatives. Habitat benefits were estimated using certified Habitat Suitability Index Models and the Habitat Evaluation Procedures. Cost Effectiveness & Incremental Cost Analyses were conducted to identify cost effective plans and reveal changes in cost for increasing levels of environmental outputs.

The Tentatively Selected Plan is Alternative 13 in the Feasibility Report. This plan would restore or protect approximately 2,664 acres through implementing the following measures:

  • Timber Stand Improvement - TSI actions, including thinning, coppice cutting, tree planting, shrub planting, and invasive species management, would occur on ~2,400 acres throughout Pool 12.
  • Invasive Species Conversion - These actions would occur on ~60 acres overtaken by invasive species where native forest communities could not naturally reestablish. These areas would receive herbicide to eradicate the invasive species footprint and soil manipulation treatments to allow forest establishment.
  • Ridge and Swale - This action would occur on ~200 acres in specific areas throughout the pool where there is currently no live forest community or sparse mature trees. Soil would be moved to create slight changes in elevation with higher ridges and lower swales. The ridges would be planted with trees; the swales would be left to be naturally vegetated based on conditions suitable to the area.
  • Herbaceous Wetland Restoration - This action would restore ~10 acres of emergent and submergent wetland habitat.
  • Shoreline Stabilization - ~5 acres of eroding shoreline would be stabilized to protect intact, mature forest from further erosion and forest loss.