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How To Reconstruct An Island

MINNEAPOLIS is one of the most liveable cities in the United States (US) - and its pleasant green setting on the Mississippi River is one of many factors contributing to its appeal.

Now, The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB), in collaboration with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organisation (MWMO), have teamed up to reconstruct Hall's Island, a piece of the city’s waterfront that was lost to industrial development in the 1960s, when the small river channel was filled in and buildings were constructed on the reclaimed land.

Above: Minneapolis is one of the most lovable cities in the US. Below: Hall's Island, a formerly industrial site located in central Minneapolis, before restoration started (images courtesy of MWMO).

MPRB bought the site back in 2010 and subsequently demolished the industrial units before remediating the contaminated soil.

This process involved excavating over 32,000 tonnes of earth and replacing it with 31,000 tonnes of clean sand.

Above: Operations were carried out last year to re-create the island and develop a habitat for wildlife (image courtesy of MWMO)

Last winter, the city began excavating the old river bed, creating a new channel and a small beach.

Above: Shrubs will grow between these layers of erosion blankets, stabilising the river's natural shoreline (image courtesy of MWMO).

The renovated island, together with the adjacent riverbank, is now set to become a new habitat for migratory birds and local wildlife, such as turtles and other reptiles, native species of amphibians, mussels, and fish.

Above: The restored Hall's Island after the earthworks were finished (image courtesy of MWMO).

According to MWMO, shoreline restoration will not only increase ecological diversity for the city, but is also a sustainable way of keeping the water cleaner by helping to stabilise the riverbank and mitigate erosion.

Above: A render showing the finished project, which will also double as a park for local inhabitants (image courtesy of MWMO).

While the newly reconstructed Hall's Island will eventually be connected to the adjacent park by a footbridge, it will remain inaccessible to visitors in the medium term, allowing vegetation to grow and nature to recover at its own pace.


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