The Pool 12 Overwintering project area is located along the left descending bank of the Upper Mississippi River approximately 10 miles south of Dubuque, Iowa, in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. The project lies generally between the Mississippi River's main channel and the railroad tracks that parallel the river's east bank. The project lands are federally owned by the Corps of Engineers and are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Savanna Division. Presently, overwintering habitat for fish and backwater habitat for both waterfowl and fish are very limited in Pool 12. Sedimentation of backwater lakes and sloughs has reduced the value of historic overwintering areas. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has documented that the overwintering habitat in Pool 12 has become a limiting factor for survival of riverine fish. The goals of the project are to restore and protect off-channel aquatic habitat and to restore floodplain forest habitat. The objectives identified to meet these goals are:
- Increase the amount of deep water habitat in the backwater lakes complex of Pool 12, as measured by acres, to provide pool-wide overwintering fish habitat. (Target depth is 6 to 8 feet)
- Increase depth diversity in the backwater lakes complex of Pool 12, as measured by acres, to provide year round fish habitat.
- Increase sustainability of aquatic habitat in the backwater lakes complex of Pool 12, as measured by acres, by decreasing the sedimentation in the complex
- Increase areal coverage in acres of forest stands with hard mast-producing trees as a dominant or component species in floodplain forest areas surrounding the backwater lakes of Pool 12.
- Approximate Acres: 628
- Congressional District: Illinois - 17, Iowa 1
- State(s) Covered: Illinois, Iowa
- Land Ownership: Federal
- Management Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Management Authority: Refuge
- Excavate channels in backwater areas (approximately 63 acres of deep backwater channels)
- Construct land and aquatic deflections berms
- Plant hard mast trees on land berms (approximately 40 acres of land berms)
- Construct rock closure structures
- The Fact Sheet was approved in March 2004.
- The Definite Project Report was approved in March 2013.
- The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed in April 2013.
- Construction Contracts
- Stage I -Sunfish Lake was awarded September 2013. Construction was completed in November 2015.
- Stage II - Stone and Tippy Lakes was awarded July 2015. Scope of work includes tree clearing and removal off-site, placement site preparation, excavation/dredging channel, transporting the material to the placement site, shaping placement site, seeding placement site, planting container stock trees on placement site, direct tree seeding on placement site, and riprap placement for closure structure and bankline protection. Construction completion is scheduled for June 2020.
- Stage III - Kehough Slough was awarded August 2016. Scope of work includes placement site preparation, channel excavation/dredging, transporting the material from the channel to the placement site, shaping placement site, seeding placement site, riprap placement for closure structure and bankline protection. Construction completion is scheduled for February 2020.
- Stage IV tree planting scope of work is underway with anticipated award in late 2020 for areas construction in Stages II & III.