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Title: Upper Mississippi River System Environmental Management Program Definite Project Report/Environmental Assessment (SP-11) : Cold Springs Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project, Pool 9, Upper Mississippi River, Crawford County, Wisconsin
Authors: United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. St. Paul District.
Keywords: Restoration ecology
Environmental protection
Environmental management
Mississippi River
Publisher: United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. St. Paul District.
Abstract: The Cold Springs area affords valuable habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife. The backwater provides spawning and rearing habitat for bluegill, crappie, bass, and gizzard shad. Fish species such as walleye, sauger, and northern pike also use the backwater, especially for refuge during periods of high water on the Mississippi River. Animals in the area include beaver, muskrat, white-tailed deer, and other small mammals. Wood ducks and mallards nest in the area, and it is used by shore birds and migrating waterfowl. Construction of what is now the Burlington Northern Railroad causeway in the late 19th century created the semi-isolated Cold Springs backwater. Cold Springs is fed by Kettle Creek inflows through a highway bridge and is connected to the Mississippi River through a railroad bridge. The backwater is characterized by little or no flow velocity; hence, sediment carried by creek and river water tends to settle out, forming natural levees along the creek inlet and accumulating in deeper areas as well. The creation of Pool 9 in the late 1930s increased the water level, but serious erosion in upland watersheds due to poor farming, grazing, and logging practices caused major sedimentation. Improved land use practices since the late 1960s greatly reduced erosion and related sedimentation to the extent that the study leading to this report concluded that further reductions in sedimentation were neither crucial nor cost effective. Consideration was also given to deepening the backwater to reverse the effects of past sedimentation. However, the winter habitat suitability model for bluegill, the target fish species, showed that depths are close to optimal at present; therefore, deepening would not be cost-effective. A peninsula bordering the north side of the Kettle Creek inlet divides the Cold Springs backwater area into north and south lobes. This peninsula is the site of a public boat landing and parking area. The creek channel has been dredged to improve boat access from the landing to the river through the railroad bridge. Studies show that the primary habitat deficiency is low dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the winter. Low DO results in temporary migrations of fish from the backwater and fish kills. Forced movement from preferred habitat may also affect fish mortality due to higher predation and/or changes in available food. A related problem is restricted fish movement through shallows on both sides of the boat channel; ice buildup can obstruct fish access from deeper areas of the north and south lobes into the boat channel and river, trapping fish in areas with insufficient DO. The plan formulation process considered measures to improve DO (e.g., artesian wells and aerators) and to provide fish with access to areas with sufficient DO. The recommended plan consists of two measures: (1) a structure to divert oxygenated inflow from Kettle Creek into the south lobe during the winter and (2) a channel to allow fish movement between the backwater's lobes and the boat channel. The diversion structure would consist of a weir across the creek channel just downstream of the Highway 35 bridge and wing walls to tie the structure into the highway embankment. The structure would consist of steel sheetpile driven into the soil and protected by rock fill placed in a trapezoidal cross section. The top of the weir would be at Pool 9's normal level except for a notch to allow fish into and out of Kettle Creek. In the winter, this notch would be stoplogged and a slot in the south wing wall would be opened to divert creek water into the south lobe via a ditch. This slot would be stoplogged the rest of the year to prevent large creek flows from carrying sediment into the south lobe. The fish access channel, trapezoidal in cross section, 4 feet deep and 24 feet wide, would be dredged from the north lobe, across the boat channel, and into the south lobe. Material dredged for the fish access channel and diversion ditch would be placed on the north peninsula. The cost of the recommended plan (including construction, engineering and design, and construction supervision and administration) is $344,000, to be borne by the Corps ·of Engineers. Operation and maintenance costs are estimated to average $900 annually and would be the responsibility of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the non-Federal sponsor, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The recommended plan would be expected to increase the DO level in a minimum of 50 percent of the south lobe (i.e., over 25 percent of the entire backwater) to at least 5 milligrams/liter and insure that fish throughout the backwater have access to areas with adequate DO. To evaluate project performance, the DO would be monitored semi-weekly over the winter the first, third, and fifth years, and fish access channel depths would be measured the fifth and tenth years.
Description: Definite Project Report with Integrated Environmental Assessment
Rights: Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited
Appears in Collections:Environmental Documents

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