Pine River Rock Riffle Project Earns Top Award at ASLA-MN Ceremony

The City of Pine River’s Rock Riffle project was named the American Society of Landscape Architects Minnesota Chapter’s 2024 Award of Excellence. This top award recognizes one project that demonstrates the highest level of excellence in the delivery of a landscape architecture-focused project. The Pine River project received the award on Friday, April 26 at the ASLA-MN Awards Ceremony. 

The Pine River dam, built in 1910, was approximately 200 feet long and 13 feet high and created a reservoir upstream including the 500-acre Norway Lake. Electricity was generated at the dam until 1946 and Trunk Highway 84 was built on the dam embankment. The highway also included a concrete bridge to span the spillways of the dam. The dam was classed as high-hazard and was also a significant fish barrier. The project purpose was to remove the high hazard dam and install a rock riffle in its place. 

The dam was removed and replaced with rock-arch rapids in 2022 by the City of Pine River. Replacing the high hazard dam with a rock riffle enhanced fish passage, biological connectivity, habitat, safety, aesthetics, fishing, and recreational access to the river. The riffle pools and channels enhanced recreational opportunities for wading, fishing, paddling, and other water-based fun. This work restored fish passage and connectivity between the Whitefish Chain of Lakes and reconnected 134 lakes (11,338 acres) and 80 miles of river and stream corridors benefiting fish, mussels, and many game and non-game animal species. The dam removal would potentially allow for the upstream migration of these species, increasing biodiversity.

This project is truly larger than the sum of its parts. The design team created both a high-functioning ecosystem and a beautiful place that is site-specific. The design’s impact will forever enhance the ecological sustainability of Pine River’s watershed and the Whitefish Chain of Lakes.

Learn more about the project’s recent accolades

G23_532 BMI - Top Workplace Award_Email Signature

Named one of the very best workplaces in the State of Minnesota! We’re proud to rank in the Top 50 on the list, and even prouder that we were voted in by our own employees.