First Environmental Contract Awarded Under NESP
The St. Paul Engineer District announced November 29 the first-ever award for an environmental project under the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP)—a $324,000 contract to Togjak Management Services of Anchorage, Alaska, to complete a wing dam modification in Pool 2 of the Mississippi River downstream of St. Paul, Minn.
The intent of the project, expected to begin in April 2023, is to improve fish habitat in the river. The project will modify 17 existing wing dams to increase the diversity of aquatic habitats and enhance ecosystem dynamics. Portions of each wing dam will be notched or removed to allow better movement of fish outside the main channel. Wing dams channel water to scour out the main channel, reducing the need for channel dredging. Construction is expected to be completed by September 2023.
NESP is a program of both navigation improvements and ecosystem restoration for the Upper Mississippi River System. It was originally authorized by Congress in Title VIII of 2007’s Water Resources Development Act but remained unfunded for years.
Kirsten Wallace, executive director of the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association, said in an email, “Congratulations to everyone who has made this next step forward a reality,” and added, “UMRBA is committed to working with all our partners to support the shared vision of integrated, multi-purpose management for the Upper Mississippi River System.”