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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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Corps seeks comments on Lock and Dams 3-10 Miter Gate replacement

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is seeking public comments on plans to replace the auxiliary chamber miter gates at Lock and Dams 3 thru 10 with a new damming surface. [Read More]
Published: May-26-16

Corps of Engineers continues dredging operations near Brownsville, Minn.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, wants to remind boaters that the Mississippi River’s Crater Island will be closed during the Memorial Day weekend due to ongoing dredging activities. [Read More]
Published: May-25-16

Corps seeks comments on proposed dredged material movements in Pool 5

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is seeking public comments on its plans to move dredged material from its temporary placement site on Lost Island to its permanent placement site at West Newton Chute. [Read More]
Published: Apr-28-16
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St. Paul District Locks & Dams

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