ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Project underway to build islands in Pig’s Eye Lake in St. Paul to restore backwater habitat

Some area residents have opposed the project, which they say is adding pollutants to the lake.

Pigseyelake.jpg
Pig’s Eye Lake is a 600-acre lake that’s only about three to four feet deep. It has loose, suspended sediment that's easily stirred up by the wind, making it unstable for plants and other aquatic creatures, says Aaron McFarlane, a biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul.
Minnesota Public Radio
We are part of The Trust Project.

ST. PAUL — Work will start soon to build six islands in Pig’s Eye Lake southeast of downtown St. Paul, using sand and sediment dredged from the Mississippi River navigation channel.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Ramsey County are working jointly on the project, and awarded a $14.7 million contract last year to LS Marine of Inver Grove Heights.

The goal is to restore backwater habitat for birds and fish, and slow winds that can stir up sediment and cause shoreline erosion, said Aaron McFarlane, a biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul.

"We designed these islands to break up the wind that blows the longest across the lake, and tried to create these little protected areas where you're going to find more wildlife,” he said. “You're going to create more different valuable habitat throughout these island complexes."

Pig’s Eye Lake is a 600-acre lake that’s only about three to four feet deep, McFarlane said. It has loose, suspended sediment that's easily stirred up by the wind, making it unstable for plants and other aquatic creatures, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

In addition, “the waves hitting the shorelines where there is vegetation can rip up the plants along the shorelines and then they don't grow back,” McFarlane said.

Aerial images show that more than 100 acres of vegetated shoreline have been lost since 1951, he said.

The Corps of Engineers has constructed similar islands in other stretches of the Mississippi, McFarlane said.

“We’ve got this great source of sand that we need to manage somehow anyway,” he said. The Corps of Engineers receives additional funding to use the material to create or enhance habitat, rather than disposing of it somewhere else, he said.

MORE OUTDOORS ISSUES COVERAGE:
The meetings will include a formal presentation on history, current status and the future of CWD in North Dakota.
Levi Jacobson, North Dakota Game and Fish wildlife management area supervisor, talks about the setup with other agencies that own the wildlife areas in the state with host Mike Anderson.
The North American Grasslands Conservation Act proposes to invest $290 million in voluntary initiatives to collaboratively conserve and restore native grasslands.
Black bears live in the forests throughout the Itasca State Park area and normally avoid people. But when humans leave out food sources with enticing odors, such as bird feeders, unsecured garbage cans or remnants of campfire cooking and picnics, bears will come.
A swimmer found a zebra mussel on a rock in Long Lake north of Willmar, and her father contacted the DNR. A search found one zebra mussel at each of two locations searched by DNR snorkelers.
Members Only
Some of the best wildlife habitat in northeast North Dakota is near or between the airport and Grand Forks Air Force Base. That increases the potential for bird strikes at both sites.
The bill’s spending would be guided by federally approved State Wildlife Action Plans, in which state wildlife agencies have identified 12,000 species in greatest need of conservation to date.
Annual beekeeping revenue increased by $7,525 per 10 square kilometers – about 3.9 square miles – in healthy grassland ecosystems.
In this episode of the Northland Outdoors Podcast, Ryan Saulsbury, a science instructor and outdoorsman, joins host Chad Koel to talk about ticks.
In this episode, NDGF district game warden Zach Schuchard says other boating situations, such as not yielding room to other watercraft, also add to the problems on a busy waterway.

The contractor will use about 400,000 cubic yards of dredged material to build the islands, which will total about 40 acres.

Some area residents have opposed the project, which they say is adding pollutants to the lake.

St. Paul resident and former city council member Tom Dimond said there wasn’t enough opportunity for public input, and questioned the wisdom of placing the dredged material in the lake.

"It is using this site as a place to dump their waste that they can't get rid of,” Dimond said. “You call them islands, it sounds good. But what they are is waste piles that they're putting in the lake."

ADVERTISEMENT

McFarlane said the dredged material is mostly sand, and has been tested to make sure it's safe.

Building the islands is expected to take at least a year or two, after which they will be covered with topsoil and vegetation. Boaters should use caution in the construction area.

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: OUTDOORS ISSUES
What to read next
Gov. Tim Walz announced the annual angling event would take place in Mankato for the first time.
The meetings result from the discovery of chronic wasting disease in the Climax area of northwest Minnesota and in Grand Rapids city limits.
Conservation officers Ben Huener and Tony Elwell worked the Red River of the North with a North Dakota game warden checking catfish anglers.
DNR's annual surveys help determine fish populations, lake management, stocking strategies