Sandy Lake Dam has undergone a series of modifications, repairs and periodic inspections over its 125-year history. From 2011 to 2016, a series of above and below water inspections identified several features that had deteriorated to a point that repair or replacement were necessary to maintain the long-term stability of the structure.
The Section 569 program authorizes aid from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the public entities in the 18-county northeastern Minnesota area for design and construction assistance for water related environmental infrastructure and resource protection and development projects. These projects include wastewater treatment and related facilities, water supply and related facilities, environmental restoration, and surface water resource protection and development.
The Mississippi River Headwaters Project consists of six headwaters dams in north-central Minnesota. Cross Lake, Gull Lake, Big Sandy Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, Pokegama Lake and Leech Lake make up the system. They were constructed or reconstructed between 1900 and 1913 (work on Pokegama started in 1884 and Winnibigoshish in 1885) to aid navigation on the Mississippi River between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Because the navigation mission of the headwater’s dams declined with the creation of the upper Mississippi River 9-foot navigation channel and as recreation grew in importance to the region’s economy, the mission shifted to flood risk management, recreation and environmental stewardship.
The Tribal Partnership Program (TPP) provides authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to utilize TPP to perform water-related planning activities and activities related to the study, design and construction of water resources development projects located primarily on tribal lands that substantially benefit federally-recognized tribes. To start the process, a tribe submits a study request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps evaluates the request, and if viable, the Corps works with the tribe to determine a scope of work and enters into a feasibility cost sharing agreement (FCSA). Following the execution of the FCSA, the Corps seeks federal funding for the study.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District is responsible for maintaining 244 miles of the Upper Mississippi River 9-foot channel navigation system from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa. The Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Channel Navigation Project is located in or contiguous to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The navigation project within the St. Paul District includes 13 locks and dams that are operated and maintained by the Corps. In addition to the locks and dams, the project includes channel maintenance, recreation and natural resource activities.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining a 9-foot navigation channel as an important component to the inland navigation system. The St. Paul District (MVP) is responsible for maintaining 244 miles of the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Channel Navigation Project from the head of navigation at Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa. The navigation project also includes the lower navigable portions of the Minnesota, St. Croix, and Black Rivers.