Dredge Cut and Island Creation Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project

St. Paul District

Pool 7, Upper Mississippi River, Miles 703 - 706, La Crosse County, Wisconsin, Congressional District: WI - 3




The lake is nationally recognized as one of the best bluegill and largemouth bass backwater lakes on the Upper Mississippi River and a major staging area for migrating waterfowl. However, sedimentation and aquatic plant growth had virtually eliminated flows through a fishery wintering area near Rosebud Island, creating winter and summer dissolved oxygen problems. Islands in Lake Onalaska had also eroded, leaving the lake subject to increased wave action and turbidity.

Quick Facts

  • Approximate Acres: 2750
  • State(s) Covered: WI
  • Land Ownership: Federal
  • Management Agency: USFWS
  • Management Authority: Refuge


  • Dredging channels behind Rosebud Island to provide oxygenated water to the fishery area.
  • Constructing three islands in the middle of the lake to reduce wave action. 


  • The Definite Project Report was completed in August 1988.
  • Construction was initiated in February 1989 and completed in July 1990.
  • The Operation and Maintenance Manual was completed in September 1998.
  • The Initial Project Evaluation Report was completed in September 2004.