U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service District Manager Ed Britton speaks at an open house for the Lower Pool 13 habitat rehabilitation and enhancement project. {span}John Rohlf/Clinton Herald {/span}

CLINTON — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with multiple organizations, is in the early stages of a proposal to rehabilitate and enhance lower pool 13 of the upper Mississippi River.

The lower pool 13 rehabilitation and enhancement project includes interconnected backwaters, secondary channels, wetlands and floodplain habitats. Lower pool 13 is located about three miles upstream of Clinton, in the lower portion of the Upper Mississippi river pool 13 between river miles 523-529. It spans Clinton in Iowa and Fulton and Thomson in Illinois.

The lands existing in the project area are federally owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

“Depending on water levels and where you’re measuring across the pool in this area, it’s one of the widest open river sections in the Upper Mississippi River system,” Study Manager Jason Appel said. “It can range from anywhere of two to as wide as four miles in some areas.”

The goals of the Lower Pool 13 habitat rehabilitation and enhancement project are to build a healthier, more resilient river ecosystem by maintaining, enhancing and restoring habitat that can emulate natural river processes and sustain a more diverse population of plant and animal species.

Potential project features include island stabilization and restoration, backwater dredging, restoring depth diversity, aquatic vegetation restoration, floodplain forest and water level management.

“We have not selected project features yet,” Project Engineer Kara Mitvalsky said. “What we have here is some of our brainstorming ideas that we’ve had so far. But we don’t have all of our alternatives put together. We’re not that far in the planning process.”

The features will be evaluated and chosen during the planning process and will be used to create a tentatively selected plan.

The scoping for the project is completed. Alternative formulation in scheduled between winter of this year to summer 2020.

A tentatively selected plan is scheduled between fall 2020 to winter 2020. The draft feasibility report and public review is anticipated to occur between spring 2021 to fall 2021.

The final feasibility report is scheduled for fall to winter 2021. The feasibility study schedule is pending resources and approvals.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Department of Natural Resources are partners with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the project.

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