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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

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Posted 2/27/2015

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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.

Pool 2 is the navigation pool created by the construction of Lock and Dam 2 at Hastings, Minnesota, at river mile 815.2. The pool is approximately 32.4 miles long and stretches upstream to Lock and Dam 1 in Minneapolis at river mile 847.6 (often referred to as the Ford Dam). Between river miles 818 and 820, the navigation channel switches from one bank of the river to the other and back again creating a near 90-degree bend in the river at mile 819. Navigation in the pool is maintained by 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.


It is increasingly difficult to maintain the 9-foot navigation channel in lower Pool 2, specifically between river miles 818-821. Lower Pool 2 has been a high frequency dredging location.

• Historically required dredging once every 3 years.

• Since 2006, dredging has occurred almost annually.

• Between 2007 and 2016 the Corps witnessed a 76 percent increase in dredging volume compared to the historic average, increasing annual dredging costs in this reach.

• Placement site capacity has been reduced leading to accelerated unloading requirements.

The authorized channel width in Pool 2 is 200 feet, compared to 300 feet for areas downstream from Lock and Dam 2. The U.S. Coast Guard has expressed concern regarding the difficulty and expense to maintain the aids to navigation (buoys and day marks) in this stretch of Pool 2. The commercial navigation industry has experienced difficulty navigating the channel in this reach due to the sharp bend, shoaling, and the open windswept area. There have been 80 groundings reported in this reach from 1990 to 2016. This has resulted in delays from channel closures, reduced tow sizes, and increased transport costs.


The proposed plan is to increase the channel width via dredging and add two channel control rock structures. The final feasibility study and plans and specifications for Phase I (rock structures) were completed in July 2017.  The Phase I construction contract award is anticipated in September 2017.  Plans and specifications for Phase II (dredging) will be completed in fiscal year 2018.


The 9-foot navigation channel was authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1930. It is 100-percent federally funded with the exception of short segments in Minneapolis and on the Minnesota River.


The estimated Federal cost of this study and the construction is approximately $9 million.

Channel Management inland waterways Lower Pool 2 Mississippi River navigatioon St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers