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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Programs & Project Management
180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul MN 55101

(651) 290-5755.


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Posted 2/26/2015

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Updated September 2017


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District is responsible for maintaining 244 miles of the Upper Mississippi River 9-foot channel navigation project from the head of navigation at Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa. The navigation project also includes the lower navigable portions of the Minnesota, St. Croix, and Black Rivers.

The navigation project is achieved primarily by a series of locks and dams, of which 13 are in the St. Paul District. Channel maintenance consists of dredging, the use of channel control structures such as wing dams, closing dams and bank revetments, snag removal, accurate channel marking, and close monitoring of conditions.

Since 2006, the district has dredged an average of 975,000 cubic yards annually at 28 locations. Both government and contract hydraulic and mechanical dredges are used. Dredged material placement is extensively planned for the long term and is actively managed to maximize beneficial use of the material. Channel control structures are maintained to minimize dredging quantities without affecting natural resources.


Annual maintenance is required to ensure safe, reliable navigation.  Coordination with stakeholders and the public is crucial to a successful program.  Channel maintenance policies and procedures are explained in the district’s Channel Maintenance Management Plan.  Operational agreements have been developed with state regulatory agencies to facilitate channel maintenance.  The channel maintenance program is flexible and allows for consideration of emerging river resource management initiatives such as pool-wide water level management and long-range environmental pool plans.  From 2002 through 2016, 100 percent of the material dredged was placed at beneficial use sites.

Capacity at temporary placement sites is maintained by periodically unloading dredged material and moving it to permanent locations.  A contract for unloading Crats Island (Pool 4) was awarded September 2015 and completed in August 2017.  A contract for unloading Lost Island (Pool 5) was awarded September 2016 with completion expected in 2019.

Work on dredged material management plans for Pools 2, 4, 5 and 6 is continuing with outreach to engage stakeholders and local communities.

A channel management study in lower Pool 2 to improve navigation safety and reduce future dredging requirements was completed in 2017.  Construction of the recommended channel improvements in Pool 2 is expected to begin in 2018.  A channel management study in Pool 10 was initiated in 2017.


The 9-foot channel navigation project was authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act approved July 3, 1930. It is 100 percent federally funded with the exception of short segments of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and on the Minnesota River. Non-Federal sponsors are responsible for furnishing dredged material placement sites on those segments.


The Federal cost of channel maintenance in the St. Paul District is approximately $20 million annually.

Channel Maintenance inland waterways Minnesota River navigation St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot