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Locks and Dams

Mississippi River towTo achieve a 9-foot channel in the Upper Mississippi River, the construction of a system of navigation locks and dams was authorized in 1930. Dams are built on rivers to hold back water and form deeper navigation "pools." Most pools in the United States are maintained at a constant minimum water depth of 9 feet for safe navigation. Dams allow river vessels to use a series of locks to "step" up or down the river from one water level to another.

The Corps operates the locks and dams on the Mississippi River for navigation, not flood control. The locks and dams create slack-water pools for navigation during periods of low- and moderate-level water. For each pool, there is a primary control point, where a predetermined water elevation must be kept for navigation to continue.

The St. Paul District operates and maintains 13 locks and dams beginning at Upper St. Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis and ending at Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa.

For recreational craft to pass through a lock and dam, there is a specific locking procedure. It's a fun and unique experience. Interpretive materials and brochures are available at all locks.

Navigation News


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Change of Command for Mississippi Valley Division

VICKSBURG, Miss., August 20, 2014 – In a formal change of command ceremony, Brigadier General Peter A. “Duke” DeLuca will transfer command of the Mississippi Valley Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to Brigadier General Michael C. Wehr, Friday, August 29. The ceremony will be officiated by the Corps' Chief of Engineers, Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, and will take place at 10:00 a.m. in the Vicksburg Convention Center. [Read More]
Published: Aug-22-14

Environmental Assessment available for public review and comment for proposed Wild Rice Dam Removal

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is proposing to remove Wild Rice Dam as a mitigation feature for the proposed Fargo, N.D./Moorhead, Minn., flood risk management project. The flood risk management project could potentially impact fish of the Wild Rice River and removing Wild Rice Dam has been proposed to improve fish movement and reduce potential adverse effects. [Read More]
Published: Aug-15-14

Mendota Heights, Minn., resident selected as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Silver Jackets Coordinator of the Year

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Headquarters in Washington, D.C., recently announced its selection of Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District employee and Mendota Heights, Minn., resident Terry Zien as one of the two recipients of the 2013 Silver Jackets Coordinator of the Year Award. [Read More]
Published: Aug-13-14
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St. Paul District Locks & Dams

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