KELLOGG -- For one of Minnesota's largest concentrations of turtles, Island 42 on the Mississippi River is the perfect place to lay eggs.
For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Island 42 is a strategic river management location -- a 14-acre spot to dump dredged sand and keep a 9-foot channel flowing smoothly for barge and boat traffic.
Until recently, the turtles and Corps have enjoyed a peaceful coexistence.
But after years of sand build-up, the island now holds 1.3 million cubic yards of dredged material. That's great for the eight species of turtles who call the area home, but it's overfilled in the eyes of those charged with managing the river.
As a result, the Corps will excavate the island and carry much of the material -- enough to fill a 40-acre patch of land 10 feet deep -- to an area off the Mississippi. The project will create a temporary recreational harbor with higher waters and, more important, ensure that future dredging and dumping can continue.
The Corps have postponed their project from June until the beginning of October because of concern for the turtles.
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