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Pool 12 Overwintering Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project


 This Mississippi River habitat project is located in the 300-acre Sunfish Lake backwater area approximately six miles north of Bellevue, Iowa. The site lies within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. 

  • Need

     The construction of Lock and Dam No. 12 in 1939 created a series of islands, backwater channels, and backwater lakes between Dubuque and Bellevue, Iowa. However, since the lock and dam construction, river sediments have been slowly filling in the backwater areas, reducing the value of historic fisheries overwintering sites. In addition, the lock and dam also caused changes to the floodplain forest communities. The floodplain forest is now dominated by similar-aged species of cottonwood and silver maple, and this lack of diversity results in reduced habitat value.

  • Project Description

     This Sunfish Lake project will restore approximately 16 acres of deep backwater channels, providing overwintering and year-round habitat for fish in the surrounding area. The dredged channel material will be used to construct berms which will help keep sediment out of the lake. Trees will be planted on the berms to enhance the floodplain forest habitat. When complete, this project will provide homes, food, and resting places for river wildlife such as fish, migratory birds, and other resident animals.

  • Current and Future Activities

     • The Pool 12 Overwintering project will improve habitat in four lakes – Sunfish, Tippy, Kehough, and Stone.
    • Newt Marine Service (Dubuque, Iowa) began the Sunfish Lake construction in December 2013 and anticipates completion in Fall 2016. This work includes dredging over 2 miles of channels and constructing the adjacent berms.
    • The Corps of Engineers will plant trees on the Sunfish Lake berms once construction is complete.
    • Work in the remaining three lakes will begin in subsequent years.

  • Points of Contact

     Funding Agency
    Marvin Hubbell, Project Manager
    US Army Corps of Engineers,
    Rock Island District
    PO Box 2004
    Clock Tower Building
    Rock Island, IL 61204-2004
    (309) 794-5428

    Managing Agency
    US Fish and Wildlife Service
    Ed Britton, Savanna District Manager
    Upper Mississippi River
    National Wildlife & Fish Refuge
    7071 Riverview Road
    Thomson, IL 61285
    (815) 273-2732

    Iowa Department of Natural Resources
    Mike Griffin
    206 Rose Street
    Bellevue, IA 52031
    (563) 872-5700

  • Map

    Sunfish Lake map.

    Learn More
  • Recommended plan drawing

     This map shows all four lakes that are planned to be dredged as part of the habitat rehabilitation project.

    Learn More
  • Upper Mississippi River Restoration

    Environmental Management Program

    Learn More
Last Updated: Apr 08, 2015
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