GREY CLOUD ISLAND - Local and county officials gathered for the Aug. 13 ribbon-cutting for the Grey Cloud Island channel restoration project.

Monday's ceremony came a little more than a year after the groundbreaking. The 12-week, $1.8 million project was a collaboration between Washington County and the South Washington County Watershed District.

Crews replaced the barrier causeway on County Road 75 with a bridge with culverts to allow the free flow of water for the first time in decades. The new bridge on County Highway 75 opened to vehicular traffic Oct. 30, 2017. For decades, the earthen causeway had effectively acted as a dam, creating a stagnant, algae-infested Mississippi River backwater known as the slough.

Attending the ribbon-cutting were State Sen. Karla Bigham, Grey Cloud Island Township Clerk Elizabeth Bell, former state Sen. Katie Sieben, state Rep. Keith Franke, Grey Cloud Island Township Board Chair Richard Adams, South Washington County Watershed District member and Newport City Council member Kevin Chapdelaine, administrator for the South Washington County Watershed District administrator Matt Moore and Grey Cloud Island Township Supervisor Ray Kaiser.