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Minneapolis Locks Disposition Study

Posted: 6/20/2018

Expiration date: 8/20/2018

1. Project Proponent

St. Paul District, Corps of Engineers, 180 Fifth Street East, Suite 700, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-1678.

2. Project Authority

The proposed actions are authorized under the authority of Section 216 of the Flood Control Act of 1970 (PL 91-611) investigating the modification of completed projects or their operation when found advisable due to significantly changed physical or economic conditions and for improving the quality of the environment in the overall public interest.

3. Project Location

The proposed actions would be located at Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam (USAF), Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam (LSAF) and Lock and Dam 1 (LD 1) and includes portions of the associated 9-foot navigation channel of the Upper Mississippi River in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, Minnesota.

4. Summary of the Proposed Action.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to evaluate two primary alternatives for each site: (1) no action, which would see the St. Paul District continue to operate the sites as-is; and, (2) de-authorization by Congress of the Corps’ federal navigation missions at the sites, leading to disposal of the properties. De-authorization would include portions of the Mississippi River 9-foot navigation channel associated with each lock and dam site.

As ordered under Section 2010 of the Water Resources Reform and Redevelopment Act of 2014, USAF was closed to navigation on June 9, 2015, but continues to be operated for flood damage mitigation. The closure of USAF has led to a decrease in commercial and recreational navigation at LSAF and LD 1. This is the primary reason for the proposed action, which entails conducting a disposition study on the potential future use of these facilities.

Since all three locks and dams work together as a commercial navigation system, a single study will investigate the appropriate future disposal of any and all three locks and dams, maintenance of the associated navigation channel, and the Corps owned lands and structures associated with their operation.

For scoping, the study will include outreach to stakeholders and interested parties, including federal and state agencies and representatives, Tribes and cultural resources representatives, local governments and non-governmental organizations, as well as the public. To that endeavor, the Corps invites interested parties to attend public meetings in July 2018 as indicated below:

1) Monday, July 16 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis 55401

2) Tuesday, July 17 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Highland Park Sr. High Auditorium, 1015 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul 55116

The purposes of these outreach meetings are to discuss background of the study, identify the properties and structures that are the subject of the study, discuss the federal disposal process, instruct parties on how to document their interest in future ownership, provide an opportunity to submit comments and identify issues that should be addressed in the anticipated Environmental Assessment (EA).

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), results from these scoping meetings will be compiled in an integrated draft report and EA anticipated to be released for public review and comment in the Spring of 2019. The final report may be the basis for Congressional action to de-authorize one or more of the projects. Unless otherwise directed by Congress, property disposal is managed by the General Services Administration as governed by federal law.

The Corps’ properties at USAF and LSAF locks and dams were constructed as part of the Minneapolis Upper Harbor project in 1963 and 1956, respectively. L/D 1, located near Minnehaha Park, was originally constructed by the Corps in 1917. The authorized purposes of the Corps’ structures are navigation and recreation. All three sites have a federally-licensed hydropower facility integral to the dams.

5. Schedule

Scoping comments are due by Aug. 20, 2018. A draft report is anticipated to be completed by Spring of 2019, and a final report by Fall of 2019.

6. Permits/Coordination

a) General: Concurrent with public meetings, the proposed action will be coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, Coast Guard, Housing and Urban Development, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, General Services Administration, Department of Transportation, Geological Survey, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

b) Federal: A Draft EA will be prepared and coordinated in accordance with NEPA. Coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will occur during the planning process.

7. Report

A draft EA that describes the project and the potential environmental impacts of the proposed federal action is anticipated for public review in spring 2019. This report will include letters of coordination from government agencies.

8. Comment

If you have any comments regarding the scope of the EA for the disposition study, they should be provided before the expiration date of this notice. Persons submitting comments are advised that all comments received will be available for public review, to include the possibility of posting on a public website.

Comments by mail should be submitted to: District Engineer, St. Paul District, Corps of Engineers, ATTN: Regional Planning and Environment Division North, 180 Fifth Street East, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-1638. 

Comments by email should be submitted to MplsLocksDisposition@usace.army.mil. 

There will also be an opportunity to submit comments at the public meetings. 

General questions on the study can be directed to Nan Bischoff, Project Manager, at 651-290-5426 or Nanette.m.bischoff@usace.army.mil. 

Additional details on the Disposition Study are available at: http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/MplsLocksDisposition/.

disposition study Lock and Dam 1 Lower St. Anthony Falls Minneapolis St. Paul District Upper St. Anthony Falls