Island 42 Backwater Restoration and Waterfowl Nesting Enhancement

St. Paul District

Pool 5, Upper Mississippi River, Miles 747.5 - 749.5, Wabasha County, Minnesota, Congressional District: MN - 2




Backwater sloughs at Island 42 did not receive adequate water flows from the Mississippi River at normal pool levels.  This resulted in stagnation and dissolved oxygen depletion in these waters during late summer and winter.  Also, a major limiting factor for ground-nesting waterfowl was the lack of adequate nesting cover.

Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 420
  • State(s) Covered:
  • Land Ownership: Federal
  • Management Agency: USFWS
  • Management Authority: Refuge


  • Provides flow to a semi-isolated backwater area via two 80-foot-long gated culverts and a 900-foot-long by 50 foot-wide channel to alleviate low dissolved oxygen problems in the backwater.
  • Approximately 36,000 cubic yards of material was dredged from about 7 acres of the backwater area, deepening it from about 2 feet to 5 feet for overwintering fish habitat.
  • The dredged material was placed on an abandoned placement site adjacent to the backwater area for revegetation. 


  • The Definite Project Report was completed in August 1986.
  • Construction was initiated in August 1986 and completed in May 1987.
  • A performance evaluation Report was completed in August 1995.