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It’s Not Every Day You Build an Island: A Peek Into Pig’s Eye Lake Island Development


Being an ACSM/THSOA Certified Hydrographer presents opportunities for work on some unique projects.

Juergen Brunkhorst, Certified Hydrographer and Professional Land Surveyor for Widseth, is working on one of those unique projects right now. He is overseeing the hydrographic and land survey for a project that will form six new islands in Pig’s Eye Lake in St. Paul.

In conjunction with the US Army Corps of Engineers and LS Marine, the project involves moving approximately 300,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the Mississippi River to build the islands which will total about 30 acres.

The goal is to improve aquatic habitat for the abundant wildlife in the area and enhance the quantity of shoreline habitat in Pig’s Eye Lake, which could significantly improve the local ecosystem.

The dredged material (sand removed from the navigational channel of the Mississippi River) is located on the shore of the Mississippi River. Backhoes fill barges with the material. The barges then travel upstream 10 miles where the material is offloaded and mixed with water to create a slurry which is pumped via pipeline to the designated area for a new island.

One island will be built at a time. After all islands are built, have had time to settle, and stand at their pre-determined height, they will be covered with topsoil and vegetation to blend into the natural surroundings of the lake. The islands will provide a home for wildlife and block wind-generated waves that erode the lake’s shoreline.

Widseth is providing hydrographic and land survey services for this project. To see Juergen in action on another hydrographic survey watch this video.

To learn more about this unique project, check out articles from MPR News and Ramsey County.

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