$5.5 million awarded for Stage 2 of McGregor Lake Project

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Work on Stage 1 of the McGregor Lake Project has continued throughout the summer of 2022 and is expected to wrap up this fall. The bid for Stage 2 has been awarded and work is expected to be completed in 2025. The cost of the entire project (Stages 1 and 2) will be about $24 million. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

Total project to cost $24M

By Ted Pennekamp


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, awarded a $5.5 million contract to Dubuque Barge & Fleeting Service Company doing business as Newt Marine Service, of Dubuque, Iowa, on Sept. 20 to begin constructing Stage 2 of  the McGregor Lake Project. The McGregor Lake Project is a habitat restoration project in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge located near Prairie du Chien.

Work began on Stage 1 in late March of 2020 with sand placement by Corps of Engineers Channel Maintenance personnel. The Stage 1 contract was then awarded in September of 2020. Work is ongoing and should be completed this fall.

Stage 2 will complete additional floodplain forest features on the northern end of McGregor Lake, along with improving backwater fisheries by means of habitat dredging areas north of the Highway 18 Bridge. Construction for Stage 2 is expected to be completed in 2025. The beginning of Stage 2 will depend upon weather, but work is not expected to begin this fall.

The entire McGregor Lake Project (Stages 1 and 2) will cost approximately $24 million.

The completed project will restore eroding peninsulas around McGregor Lake, dredge backwater habitat for overwintering fish and enhance floodplain forest habitat. The forests in the Mississippi River corridor provide critical habitat for migrating songbirds, nesting bald eagles, herons, kingfishers and other birds. 

The project was planned in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Iowa and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources and the local communities.

This project is funded under the authority of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program. This program is intended to ensure the coordinated development and enhancement of the Upper Mississippi River system with primary emphasis on habitat restoration projects and resource monitoring. In the more than 30-year history of the program, more than 55 habitat projects benefiting approximately 100,000 acres on the Upper Mississippi River, from Minneapolis to St. Louis, have been completed.

“Barring any breakdowns or weather events, Stage 1 should be wrapped up this fall,” said Wendy Woyczik, deputy district manager of the McGregor District, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. “Trees will be planted next year.”

Woyczik said the mixing of  sand and fine material has been ongoing this past summer on the island legs around McGregor Lake, also known as Horseshoe Lake. This will give future tree roots a better soil mixture to grow in. After the mixing is complete, another top layer of just fine material will be added.

Woyczik said Stage 2 will involve building islands just south of the Marquette-Joliet Bridge and dredging north of the bridge.

“The McGregor Lake Project has been going well and we are happy to see the Stage 2 bid has been awarded,” said Woyczik.

Because of the McGregor Lake Project, approximately 380 acres of habitat, food and resting places for river wildlife will be restored by dredging sediment from backwater areas and by restoring islands and floodplain forests.


Lower Pool 10 Project

Another project in Pool 10 that is coming up is the Lower Pool 10 Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project (HREP).

“The Lower Pool 10 HREP project will hopefully go out for bids next year,” said Woyczik. “The project restores islands and dredges out some backwater habitat in the lower part of Pool 10 from McMillan Island south to just above the lock and dam (Lock and Dam 10 at Guttenberg).”


Corps of Engineers

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five Upper Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the St. Paul District Fiscal Year 2021 $243 million budget, nearly 3,710 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $372 million to the national economy.

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