Corps of Engineers seeks public comment on cultural resources protection project at Sny Magill Unit focused on damage control for burial mounds

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is seeking comment on a bank stabilization study at the Sny Magill unit of Effigy Mounds National Monument, near Harpers Ferry. The purpose of this project is to stabilize the shoreline of the Sny Magill unit and reduce damage to the integrity of the Native American burial and ceremonial mounds at Effigy Mounds National Monument (Park).

Opportunities to improve aquatic and floodplain forest habitat are also being investigated. This study will inform future management of areas within the Mississippi River.

The mounds preserved within the Park are a unique and significant cultural resource considered sacred by many Americans, especially the culturally associated tribal nations. Shoreline erosion caused by more frequent and prolonged high-water events uniquely threaten the Sny Magill unit’s mounds.

The Sny Magill unit is located within the floodplain of Pool 10 of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge along Johnson’s Slough. Sny Magill is owned and managed by the National Park Service and study partners include the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Tribal consultation and coordination with tribal nations is ongoing.

Comments, questions, or additional information may be submitted by email to by Friday, August 11 of this year. This project is funded under the authority of the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP). NESP is a long-term, dual-purpose program that integrates navigation improvements and ecosystem restoration together to provide positive impacts to the Upper Mississippi River System. The primary goals of the program are to increase the capacity and improve the reliability of the inland navigation system while restoring, protecting and enhancing the environment.

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is the most visited refuge in the United States. The refuge extends 261 miles along the Upper Mississippi River from Wabasha, MN to Rock Island, IL, protecting and preserving habitat for migratory birds, fish, and a variety of other wildlife.

In addition to being the most visited refuge in the country, the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge has the added complexity of a major navigation system, including 11 locks and dams,within its boundary. It is also a world-class fish and wildlife area which harbors 306 species of birds; 119 species of fish; more than 300 active bald eagle nests; thousands of heron and egret nests; spectacular concentrations of canvasback ducks, tundra swans and white pelicans; and several threatened or endangered species.