Klobuchar, Franken, and Peterson Announce $7.6 Million to Support Marsh Lake Restoration Project

Feb 12, 2016 Issues: Congressional Issues

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Representative Collin Peterson, today announced a $7.6 million investment to support the Marsh Lake Restoration Project. In December, the lawmakers sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging strong funding to ensure the construction phase of the project begins in 2016. By upgrading the Marsh Lake dam, the project will restore connectivity with nearby lakes and streams. These modifications will improve the water quality of the surrounding area.

“The Marsh Lake Project is critical to improving water quality along the Upper Minnesota River near Appleton,” Klobuchar said. “This funding will ensure that this important project moves forward, which will help upgrade the Marsh Lake dam and improve water quality in the surrounding area.”

“This project will improve water quality and support local conservation efforts,” said Franken. “Marsh Lake is the only new ecosystem restoration construction project nationwide that the Army Corps is funding this year, and I’m proud that our efforts to get full funding were successful.”

“The Marsh Lake Restoration Project is very important to the region and this funding will allow for construction to begin,” Peterson said. “Upgrading the Marsh Lake dam will allow lake levels to fluctuate and natural aquatic vegetation to grow which will return Marsh Lake to a prime duck hunting destination.”

The full text of the lawmaker’s letter from December is below:

Dear Assistant Secretary Darcy:

We write to urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to include funding for the Marsh Lake Ecosystem Project in its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Work Plan.

The Marsh Lake Ecosystem Project, authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), is critical to restoring the ecosystem along the Upper Minnesota River near Appleton, Minnesota. This project will upgrade the Marsh Lake dam, restoring connectivity with nearby lakes and streams. These modifications will improve water quality, which in turn benefits aquatic plants, fish species, waterfowl (including Minnesota’s largest breeding colony of American white pelicans), and the rest of the ecosystem.

The Marsh Lake Ecosystem Project should be a top candidate for funding now that appropriations have been enacted for the remainder of FY 2016. The Explanatory Statement accompanying the FY 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act provides for one new construction start for an environmental restoration project. Furthermore, it makes significant funding available for authorized projects, including environmental restoration or compliance projects. Marsh Lake is the only Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration new start in the FY 2016 Civil Works Budget for construction.

We request that you provide no less than the $2.7 million requested for the Marsh Lake Ecosystem Project in the FY 2016 Civil Works Budget. With design of the project nearly complete, the Corps has indicated it plans to execute a project partnership agreement with the Upper Minnesota River Watershed District and initiate the first construction contract in FY 2016. This funding is essential for this project to advance.

We look forward to working with you to move this project forward and ensure its timely completion.