Pool 9 project will benefit fish and wildlife
The dredging and island building project, scheduled to start next spring, “will be good for everything on the river,” said Mike Griffin, a wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Capoli Slough, a side channel and island complex, is on the Wisconsin side of the navigation channel about fives miles below Lansing.
Funded under the federal Environmental Management Program administered by the Army Corps of Engineers, the project will create nine new islands and protect 10 existing islands.
Altogether, the 19 islands will cover about 49 acres, which compares with 74 acres of islands in the area shortly after it was flooded by Lock and Dam 9 in 1940.
The loss of much of those original islands, primarily through wave erosion, has been accompanied by a steep reduction in emergent aquatic vegetation, which makes Capoli Slough much less attractive to migrating waterfowl and other water birds.
The islands will be positioned to maintain and encourage flowing channels for fish and to provide protected deepwater habitat for overwintering crappies, bluegills and largemouth bass.
Griffin said the islands will be constructed of soil dredged during the creation of about 10 acres of deepwater fish habitat.
The new and existing islands will be armored with rock, which will provide additional habitat for bass and other gamefish, he said.
When completed in 2013 or 2014, the Capoli Slough Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project will resemble another island-building effort near Stoddard, Wis., on Pool 8, Griffin said.
That area has proved to be extremely popular with anglers, hunters and wildlife watchers, he said.
Funding for the project – a cooperative effort of the Corps of Engineers, Iowa and Wisconsin DNRs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – will be exclusively federal because the affected area lies within a national wildlife refuge.