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Steamboat Island Restoration Project Begins

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke ground on a local habitat restoration project on Wednesday.

Steamboat Island is a federally owned island in the Mississippi River, near Princeton. The Corps, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, aim to restore its floodplain forest and aquatic habitat.

Julie Millhollin is the project manager. She says first on the list is rebuilding the head of the island, which has eroded.

"We will also be doing excavation of backwater channels for overwintering habitats, and also creating topographic diversity, so we're changing the ground elevation out there, we will be planting trees, and then we'll also be planting scrub-shrub and pollinator habitat."

The entire project will take place over several years. It began with a feasibility study in 2018.

Millhollin says it'll be worth the wait.

"We're excited to get this going, and I know it'll take a couple years to get completed, but once it does, it'll be a great source for people to go out, go fishing, and see birds."

The federally funded project is expected to cost around $33.6 million dollars.

Environment Steamboat Island
Rachel graduated from Michigan State University's J-School and has a background in broadcast and environmental journalism. Before WVIK, she worked for WKAR Public Media, Great Lakes Now, and more. In her free time, she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with her cat.