The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will begin taking this year’s annual Lake Pepin ice measurements Feb. 15.
The Corps takes ice measurements on Lake Pepin annually to forecast the navigational outlook on the Upper Mississippi River. Located on the river between Red Wing, Minnesota, and Wabasha, Minnesota, Lake Pepin is the location of choice for these measurements because it is the last part of the navigation channel where the ice breaks up due to slower river currents.
A Corps survey crew uses an airboat and a global positioning system to collect the data. The information is used by the navigation industry to predict when it’s safe to break through the ice and begin the 2017 navigation season.
Last year, the Motor Vessel Ronald Wagonblast was the first tow to pass through Lake Pepin and reach St. Paul, Minnesota. She arrived March 13, 2016. The average opening date of the navigation season in St. Paul for the last 10 years is March 24.
Normally, ice measurements are completed weekly, or biweekly, until the navigation season begins. The data will be posted on the St. Paul District’s website. For figures on past and present Lake Pepin ice measurements, see: http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Ice-Measurements/.
The nearly 600 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the St. Paul District Fiscal Year 2016 $78 million budget, nearly 1,250 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $120 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.