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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 to reopen the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock for short period

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will reopen its Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, located in Minneapolis, to navigation prior to the June 10 mandated closure. [Read More]
Published: Feb-25-15

Corps of Engineers to take annual Lake Pepin ice measurements

ST. PAUL, Minn. – One of the first signs of spring for the Upper Midwest is here. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will begin taking this year's annual Lake Pepin ice measurements Feb. 18. [Read More]
Published: Feb-12-15

Hours of operations to be reduced at Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam and Lock and Dam 1

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, announced today the hours of operation will be reduced a to single, 10-hour shift, seven days a week, at Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam and Lock Dam 1 following the closure of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam. These three locks are all located in Minneapolis. [Read More]
Published: Jan-09-15
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St. Paul District Locks & Dams

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