Posted on January 29, 2024
HARLAN COUNTY LAKE, Neb. — Officials gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Harlan County Lake aquatic ecosystem restoration project at Harlan County Lake, Nebraska, on January 16, 2024.
The project is a partnership between the Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. While pre-construction activities have been underway since December 2023, construction of the core project features began earlier this month.
The project will help restore the Harlan County Lake aquatic ecosystem and is authorized under Section 1135 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986. USACE awarded the construction contract on September 28, 2023, and majority of the federal funding for the project has been provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
USACE and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have been working together over the past several years to determine feasibility and develop a detailed design for this project. The award of the construction contract marked the commencement of the final stage of the project.
The primary objectives of the project are to restore and protect degraded aquatic habitat by removing sediments that have blocked the entrance of Methodist Cove, create spawning and overwintering areas for a variety of aquatic organisms and manage invasive vegetation. The project will involve excavation and dredging to create fish passage and spawning areas, installation of breakwaters and rock groins to control erosion and sediment deposition, removal of invasive vegetation species such as salt cedar and the installation of artificial structures and vegetation to improve aquatic organism habitat.
Cedar trees removed during the delivery of the project will be re-purposed to create fish habitats within Methodist Bay. Using these trees to create fish habitats has various ecological and public safety benefits including increasing fish population, improving grassland fauna habitat, proving to be more cost effective than manufacturing structures and improving road conditions along Corp Rd B.
Construction activities are expected to continue throughout 2024 and early 2025. Access to Methodist Cove and surrounding USACE-owned land may be restricted to the public during this construction period. More information will be provided if there are any access restrictions before they begin.