FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Contractors began to clear the site at the Towpath Trail head last week, but Tuesday they started building the berm. When completed, it will be a mound of earth 6-12 feet high with a trail on top. It will be roughly 80 feet wide and 9000 feet long. Five years ago, several federal agencies sent representatives to Eagle Marsh to survey the area. Those agencies put together $3.5 million to build this berm and restore native plants to the area when construction is over. That will take an additional 3-5 years after construction is completed.
This area is a “continental divide” where the Mississippi River watershed and Great Lakes watershed meet. The berm is being built to keep those two things separate. There are different plant, animal, and bacteria life in each water system that cannot mix. An example of that is Asian carp. They swim freely in the Mississippi River, but would devastate the fishing industry in the Great Lakes. Construction on the berm was supposed to start months ago, but was delayed by the record rainfall over the summer. Eagle Marsh was under several feet of flood water at different points during the summer. This project will take several months to complete, as nearly 235,000 truck loads of dirt will need to be moved.
Dirt for the berm is being taken from other areas in Eagle Marsh that will now be shallow water areas. Those areas will attract more and new wildlife to the area, specifically different types of birds. Officials expect this project to only take a few months, but as has already been proven, weather can significantly delay the progress.