Reconstruction of Taxiway F to improve airfield safety at La Crosse Regional Airport required filling six acres of Lake Onalaska. Project requirements also raised issues regarding conservation and management of the French Island Sand Prairie, a high-quality natural area occupying nearly 200 acres of the airport. Our environmental specialists prepared an Environmental Assessment and the needed field studies to successfully complete wetland permitting.
Through the field studies, we addressed rare flora, fauna and habitat quality issues. We designed two mitigation sites that addressed wetland, migratory waterfowl and fishery impacts within the Mississippi River Central Flyway. The Pettibone site enhanced fish habitat, providing oxygen-rich water to a stagnant pond with a long history of winter fish kills. The site attained all dissolved oxygen standards. The Sugar Creek site restored a riparian, groundwater-slope wet meadow and waterfowl pond. Now part of the Sugar Creek State Natural Area, this site has greatly exceeded all performance standards for vegetation quality, hydrology and invasive weed content.