On Friday, November 6, 10 am on Facebook Live a ‘virtual’ groundbreaking ceremony will launch a critical wildfowl habitat restoration project along the Minnesota River opposite southeast Eden Prairie.
The public is invited to join environmentalist from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the 30-minute, on-site ceremony. The ceremony will include shoveling of dirt and discussion via laptops, desktops and smart phones at www.facebook.com/usace.saintpaul/.
The Bass Ponds, Marsh and Wetland Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Project includes approximately 2000 acres of floodplain that cradles three lakes and a large marsh on the north edges of Shakopee and Savage.
The Highway 169 bridge crosses the area which is part of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (MVNWR).
Project agencies note that nearby land uses, climate changes, increased flooding and erosion have degraded the aquatic vegetation that many bird species depend on.
Migratory bird flyway and wildlife refuge
Units of the the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge from Jordon in Scott County to Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport protect a swath of one of the nation’s most important migratory bird flyways. The local refuge is the largest metro area national wildlife refuge in the United States. Audubon Minnesota has documented 260 bird species within the refuge including migratory pelicans,swans, geese and ducks, waders and raptors.
The project will install six water-level management structures and culverts to enable U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service crews to raise, lower and/or maintain water levels of Blue, Fisher and Rice lakes and Continental Grain Marsh. The construction work is expected to be completed by 2022.
The Lower Minnesota River Watershed District (LMRWD) website reports that the Bass Ponds project is totally funded by the federal government under the authority of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Environmental Management Program.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Minnesota DNR are project partners. For more information visit the LMRWD website. http://lowermnriverwd.org/news/bass-ponds-habitat-restoration-and-enhancement