Bass Ponds, Marsh, and Wetland Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project


St. Paul District

Minnesota River, Miles 5 - 18, Hennepin and Scott Counties, Minnesota





These three areas are located on the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in an urban floodplain area near Bloomington, Minnesota. The “Bass Ponds” floodplain marsh area is located in the Long Meadow Lake. The “Marsh” area includes two lakes, Continental Grain Marsh and Fisher Lake. The “Wetlands” area is located in the Long Meadow Lake, Wilkie, and Bloomington Ferry Units.

In the Bass Ponds area, Minnow Pond has silted in due to drainage from an urban area. Prior to degradation, Minnow Pond functioned as a filter for a tremendous amount of silt from the bluff in a continuously running spring that flows through the complex, into Long Meadow Lake, and out to the Minnesota River. Siltation is preventing water from entering the Bass Ponds system. The Little and Big Bass Ponds control structures were old and failing when the Refuge was acquired in 1976, so provide very limited operational capability to manage water levels. Overall, the wetlands are degraded and provide little or no wildlife or water quality benefit. In the marsh area, the wetland habitat is declining in both lakes because of siltation from high flow conditions on the Minnesota River. As the wetland habitat is reduced, the area will be able to support less and less waterfowl and other wetland dependent species. At Continental Grain Marsh, the riverward side of dike is eroding and the effectiveness of this important marsh area will be eliminated if the dike is breached. Efforts are currently underway to determine the main cause of dike erosion (groundwater movement or river flows). The marsh is also draining from the west side into a designated trout stream (Eagle Creek) and may be causing degradation of the stream.

The proposed project goals include various features, such as dredging and removing silt to increase sediment trap capability, replacing existing water control structures, dike rehabilitating or widening to keep it from breaching, reevaluating and adjusting the spillway elevation to keep water from draining into Eagle Creek, rehabilitating the outlet control structure, and dredging channels in Continental Grain Marsh and Fisher Lake to remove silt and increase drawdown capabilities.

Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 259
  • Congressional District:
  • State(s) Covered: Minnesota
  • Land Ownership: Federal
  • Management Agency: USFWS
  • Management Authority: Refuge


  • Dredging Minnow Pond. 
  • Replace existing water control structures on Big Bass Pond, Little Bass Pond and Minnow Pond.
  • Install a water control structure between Big and Little Bass Pond on Minnow Pond Creek.


  • The Fact Sheet was approved in September 2010.
  • Planning for this project began in the first quarter of fiscal 2018.
  • Draft feasibility report is scheduled for 2019.

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