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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
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180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 290-5807
Fax: (651) 290-5752
cemvp-pa@usace.army.mil 
Aerial image of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

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Posted 2/9/2018

Release no. 18-003


ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will begin taking this year’s annual Lake Pepin ice measurements Feb. 21.

The Corps takes ice measurements on Lake Pepin annually to forecast the navigational outlook on the Upper Mississippi River. Lake Pepin, the widest naturally-occurring part of the Mississippi River, is located between Red Wing, Minnesota, and Wabasha, Minnesota. Measurements taken here give the best outlook as it is the last segment in the navigation channel in which winter ice will break up.

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 2018 navigation season.

Last year, the Motor Vessel Stephen L. Colby was the first tow to pass through Lake Pepin and reach

St. Paul, Minnesota. She arrived March 9, 2017. Historically the average date in which navigation is open occurs during the third week of March.

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/.

lock and dam Mississippi River navigation