St. Paul District commanders

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 Major Gouverneur K. Warren, 1866-1870

Major Warren, a Civil War hero, western explorer, and respected cartographer, was an excellent choice as the first St. Paul District Engineer. He worked closely with local, State, and congressional interests to improve St. Paul as a transportation center and Minneapolis as a mill and lumber center. He designed the Mississippi River headwaters reservoirs; constructed a bridge at Rock Island; and surveyed the Mississippi, Chippewa, St. Croix, and Wisconsin Rivers. He initiated the first major Corps construction project in the Twin Cities – the preservation of the Falls of St. Anthony.

Major Gouverneur Kemble Warren


















 Col.  John M. Macomb, 1870-1873

Colonel Macomb never lived in St. Paul but supervised the office from Rock Island, where he was engaged in improving the Des Moines and Rock Island Rapids. During Macomb’s tenure, Franklin Cook, a civilian engineer, managed the work of the District. Most of Cook’s time was devoted to the preservation of St. Anthony Falls and to supervising the dredging and snagging on the Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Minnesota Rivers to maintain a 3-½ foot navigation channel.

Colonel John M. Macomb

















 Major Francis U. Farquhar, 1873-1878

Recognizing the need for a full-time engineer at St. Paul, the Corps sent Major Farquhar to complete repair of the apron and dikes at St. Anthony Falls and to improve river transportation. Under Farquhar, the District surveyed the Red River of the North; took over the Duluth canal harbor project; and removed boulders, snags, and overhanging trees from Minnesota, Chippewa, St. Croix, and Mississippi Rivers. In 1878, Farquhar combined the work of the St. Paul and Rock Island offices.

Major Francis U. Farquhar

















 Major Charles J. Allen, 1878-1889

The Golden Age of the lumber industry occurred during Major Allen’s 11 years in St. Paul. Hundreds of private logging dams were built, causing problems for landowners and navigation interests. To solve these problems, Allen proposed that 41 Federal reservoirs be built in the headwaters of the Mississippi, St. Croix, Wisconsin, and Chippewa Rivers. Citing the need for increased flow at St. Paul, he built timber dams at Winnibigoshish, Leech, Pokegama, and Cross Lakes. Allen dredged the Red River to facilitate wheat shipping. He also sent Captain Dan C. Kingman to develop the roads and bridges in Yellowstone Park.

Major Charles J. Allen


















 Major William A. Jones, 1889-1895


Improvements for logging and steamboats continued under Major Jones. He cleared a 5-foot channel on the St. Croix River below Stillwater and a 3-foot channel above Stillwater. Jones built the Sandy Lake reservoir with a lock for steamboats and designed reservoirs and canals for the Red River. To improve the entrance to the Mississippi River, the Minnesota River was closed with a brush dam, and flow was diverted to the Fort Snelling chute. Engineers under Jones’ direction constructed roads, planned tourist facilities, and preserved the natural beauty of Yellowstone Park – our first national park.

Major William A. Jones


















 Capt. Harry F. Hodges, 1895


During the summer of 1895, Captain Hodges, who worked under Major Jones on the improvement of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, came to St. Paul as a temporary replacement. Hodges supervised completion of the Sandy Lake lock and dam and continued gage readings of water flow at St. Paul, which began in 1889. The headwaters reservoirs provided an additional foot of water for navigation between St. Paul and Lake Pepin during August, September, and October.

Capt. Harry F. Hodges


















 Lt. Col.  William A. Jones, 1895-1897

Improvements for logging and steamboats continued under Major Jones. He cleared a 5-foot channel on the St. Croix River below Stillwater and a 3-foot channel above Stillwater. Jones built the Sandy Lake reservoir with a lock for steamboats and designed reservoirs and canals for the Red River. To improve the entrance to the Mississippi River, the Minnesota River was closed with a brush dam, and flow was diverted to the Fort Snelling chute. Engineers under Jones’ direction constructed roads, planned tourist facilities, and preserved the natural beauty of Yellowstone Park – our first national park.

Lt. Col.  William A. Jones


















 Major Frederick V. Abbot, 1897-1900

Major Abbot served during a period of legal and even armed conflict. The Corps was often in the middle of clashes involving large corporations, Native Americans, private individuals, and steamboat tourists. Loggers monopolized the St. Croix and Red Lake River channels. Railroad construction blocked the Red River. Soldiers requested to protect the headwaters dams became involved in the Army’s last Indian battle. When not occupied by legal matters, Abbot often rode his bicycle (to save the Government livery fees) down to inspect the construction of Twin City lock and dam 2.

Major Frederick V. Abbot


















 Major Daniel W. Lockwood, 1900-1901

Because the timber dams in the Mississippi headwaters had started to rot, Major Lockwood began to replace them with steel and concrete structures. He established flowage rights in anticipation of the growing recreational development in northern Minnesota. Because land was becoming more expensive, the Federal Government gave up plans to build 36 more reservoirs in the headwaters of the Mississippi, St. Croix, and Chippewa Rivers. Intense logging moved to Lake of the Woods, where the Corps sent a dredge to improve Warroad Harbor.

Major Daniel W. Lockwood


















 Capt. Hiram M. Chittenden, 1901

The major designer of facilities at Yellowstone Park, Captain Chittenden had only a temporary appointment as St. Paul District Engineer. However, during his 4-month tour, he supervised the construction of Twin City lock and dam 2 and renovation of the timber dam at Leech Lake into a steel and concrete structure. He also built a dam tender’s residence at Lake Winnibigoshish, indicating the Corps’ commitment to maintain and operate the reservoir system in northern Minnesota.

Capt. Hiram M. Chittenden


















 Col. Richard L. Hoxie, 1901-1903

The District’s work continued to center on facilitating steamboat navigation and the lumber industry. Colonel Hoxie resisted political pressure to perform questionable dredging, however. He completed the Leech Lake dam. Five steamboats operated on Red Lake, 3 on Red Lake River, 2 on the Red River at Grand Forks, 1 on the Mississippi River between Grand Rapids and Aitkin, and 25 on Lake of the Woods. Excursion boats occasionally went on the Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers. In 1903, one billion feet of logs were floated down the Mississippi, St. Croix, Red Lake, and Chippewa rivers.

Col. Richard L. Hoxie


















 Lt. Col. George McC. Derby, 1903-1906

Lt. Col. Derby dealt with one of the most heated controversies the district ever faced. In 1905, Duluth commercial interests, Leech Lake Indians, Aitkin area farmers, the railroads, and lakeshore owners called for the abolishment of the headwaters reservoirs. They claimed the government dams only assisted millers, loggers, and power companies in Minneapolis. The Board of Engineers held public hearings that found the district operated the reservoirs in the best interests of navigation, in accordance with congressional authorization. Derby also completed the Pokegama Dam.

Lt. Col. George McC. Derby


















 Col.  James B. Quinn, 1906-1907

Colonel Quinn, the first Duluth District Engineer, assumed temporary responsibility at St. Paul in 1906. He supervised completion of the controversial Twin City lock and dam 2. St. Paul interests believed the dam threatened that city’s position as head of Mississippi River navigation. The dam was also a deterrent to the flow of logs below St. Anthony Falls. Ironically, within 10 years, the Corps inundated this structure with the reservoir formed by Lock and Dam 1 at the Ford Bridge.

Col. James B. Quinn


















 Capt. Edward H. Schulz, 1907

Captain Schulz took temporary charge of the District in the summer of 1907 in addition to his regular duties as Missouri River District Engineer. Schulz published the first regulations governing the operation of the headwaters dams as multi-purpose reservoirs, which included flood control, water for manufacturing, releases for floating logs, maintenance of a 5-foot channel at St. Paul, and water for occasional steamboat runs between Brainerd and Grand Rapids. He also determined what effect channel maintenance for all navigable rivers in the District would have had on railroad rates.

Capt. Edward H. Schulz


















 Lt. Col. Francis R. Shunk, 1907-1912

Lt. Col. Shunk was a creative and careful engineer and a politically astute negotiator, but also a modest man. He used quiet diplomacy and public hearings to settle many disputes over water use. His key project was the redesign of lock and dam 1, incorporating a higher, hollow Ambursen dam with power generation. Marshaling cooperation between Minneapolis and St. Paul on this dam and other projects was quite a feat, but even greater was his success in getting Corps approval to abandon the brand-new, but unnecessary, Twin City lock and dam 2.

Lt. Col. Francis R. Shunk


















 1st Lt. John N. Hodges, 1912

First Lieutenant John N. Hodges served as the district engineer for less than 2 months in February and March 1912 when Lt. Col. Shunk suffered health problems. Hodges had one of the shortest tenures as a district engineer at St. Paul and was the only first lieutenant to head the district – a situation necessitated by a limit on the number of officers in the Corps of Engineers.

1st Lt. John N. Hodges

















 Lt. Col. Francis R. Shunk, 1912

Lt. Col. Shunk was a creative and careful engineer and a politically astute negotiator, but also a modest man. He used quiet diplomacy and public hearings to settle many disputes over water use. His key project was the redesign of lock and dam 1, incorporating a higher, hollow Ambursen dam with power generation. Marshaling cooperation between Minneapolis and St. Paul on this dam and other projects was quite a feat, but even greater was his success in getting Corps approval to abandon the brand-new, but unnecessary, Twin City lock and dam 2.

Lt. Col. Francis R. Shunk


















 Lt. Col. Charles L. Potter, 1912-1915

The change in administration from Shunk to Lieutenant Colonel Potter was dramatic. As Division Engineer, Potter had been Shunk’s superior. Potter was tough-minded conservative. Moreover, conditions had changed. The Corps’ mission was to improve navigation, but water use had become recreational rather than commercial. Steamboats ceased operating on the Red River in 1912, and the era of large-scale logging ended in 1915. Consequently, Potter began no new projects and abandoned many questionable projects initiated by previous district engineers. The District essentially performed only an operation and maintenance function.

Lt. Col. Charles L. Potter


















 Major Ernest D. Peek, 1915-1916

Under Major Peek, District work on major projects continued to diminish because of the decline in logging and navigation. The dredging plant on the Red River was sold, and improvements were abandoned because they were unnecessary. The project on Lake Traverse was also abandoned. Logging on the Red Lake River ended. Dredging was done between the dams on the Leech and Mississippi Rivers to benefit the logging industry. Dredging on Lake of the Woods and work on lock and dam 1 continued.

Major Ernest D. Peek


















 Lt. Col. Edward H. Schulz, 1916-1917

On April 6, 1917, Congress declared war. The Corps reassigned many Civil Works officers to military work. Lieutenant Colonel Schulz had already prepared for this event by reducing his District office staff to eight. During the summer of1917, lock and dam 1 was completed, and Minneapolis became head of navigation on the 6-foot Mississippi River channel. Above St. Anthony Falls, the steamboat LEE ceased to operate and navigation in the headwaters region came to an end. Logging on the St. Croix also ceased in 1917.

Lt. Col. Edward H. Schulz


















 Col. Daniel W. Lockwood, 1917

During the summer and fall of 1917, as the Corps concentrated on military activities, it transferred officers out of the Civil Works District and Division commands. Colonel Lockwood, who had graduated from West Point in 1866 and had served as St. Paul District Engineer in 1900 and 1901, came out of retirement. During his 3-month appointment, a 24-hour guard was placed around the newly completed lock and dam 1 – a reminder that the Nation was at war. 

Col. Daniel W. Lockwood


















 George W. Freeman, 1917-1919

At the height of World War I, the first and only civilian, George Freeman, took command of the St. Paul District. Freeman had been an assistant engineer in the District. He worked on and patented (No. 1,043,761) the design of lock and dam 1. Freeman also encouraged Minneapolis to construct wharf facilities and turning basin, and he supported St. Paul’s efforts to improve its navigation terminal. During this period, dredging responsibilities at Warroad, Zippel Bay, and Baudette on Lake of the Woods were transferred to the Duluth District.

George W. Freeman


















 Major Henry C. Jewett, 1919-1920

Major Jewett removed the deteriorated snag-boat ORIOLE from service in the headwaters channels. In 1919, the District was given responsibility for the Mississippi River from the mouth of the Wisconsin River to St. Paul. Up to that time, the Rock Island District had this responsibility and maintained an assistant engineer’s office in St. Paul. The Fountain City boatyard and another assistant engineer’s office at La Crosse were also transferred from Rock Island to the St. Paul District.

Major Henry C. Jewett


















 Lt. Col. Francis A. Pope, 1920-1921

Although the Nation was spending large sums of money on skyscrapers, machinery, highways, sewers, education, and leisure activities, capital investment for navigation in the St. Paul District declined. The 1920’s also saw strong public reaction to river pollution and concern for the preservation of the river’s scenic beauty. Although Lieutenant Colonel Pope served during a period of reduced District function, he was involved in the first steps of the transition from a small, closely-knit group of workers to a large public service organization open to public scrutiny.

Lt. Col. Francis A. Pope


















 Major Edwin H. Marks, 1921-1923

Under Major Marks, the channel below the Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake dams was dredged and shortened by 19 miles. This work provided more water for navigation below St. Anthony Falls. Marks reported to the Chief of Engineers that only pleasure boats used lock and dam 1, noting that Minneapolis had no terminal facilities and that local businesses had little interest in building them.

Major Edwin H. Marks


















 Major Charles F. Williams, 1923

Elsewhere, transportation and industry were expanding, but the interest in navigation on the Upper Mississippi River was very low. Under Major Williams, the reduced work of the district was reflected in a bare-bones office staff. Two junior engineers, one assistant engineer, a chief clerk, and six clerks made up the total personnel of the district office.

Major Charles F. Williams


















 Major Edwin H. Marks, 1924

Under Major Marks, the channel below the Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake dams was dredged and shortened by 19 miles. This work provided more water for navigation below St. Anthony Falls. Marks reported to the Chief of Engineers that only pleasure boats used lock and dam 1, noting that Minneapolis had no terminal facilities and that local businesses had little interest in building them.

Major Edwin H. Marks


















 Major Charles F. Williams, 1924-1926

Major Williams returned to the district in 1924. The decline of staff and projects bottomed out in 1925. Railroads continued to dominate travel and transportation, and they refused to provide terminals on the Upper Mississippi River. Thus, the river became a recreational area. In one of the first reports on water pollution in the District, Williams stated that pollution was “insufficient to endanger or interfere with commerce or fisheries.” The report stirred quite a bit of controversy, and he later modified his position, stating that the Mississippi River below St. Paul was “deleterious to fish life.”

Major Charles F. Williams



 Major Robert C. Williams, 1926-1929

Major Williams commanded the district during a time of transition. From 1910 to the 1940s, the Upper Mississippi watershed suffered from a drought. Potential navigation was threatened. To stimulate commerce, the War Department designed new carriers powered by diesel tugs and created the Federal Barge Fleet. To accommodate this fleet and conserve water, a new lock and dam was started at Hastings in 1928. In spite of his own reservations and staff objections, Williams quickly reorganized the district in response to orders from the Division Engineer. This reorganization helped prepare for the implementation of the 9-foot channel.

Major Robert C. Williams


















 Col. Wildurr Willing, 1929-1933

In 1930, the 9-foot channel was authorized. It was the largest public works project in the Nation’s history and included 24 new locks and dams between St. Louis and Minneapolis. The district’s southern border was established at lock and dam 10. Colonel Willing quickly began work on the channel project, recommended twin locks to replace the old lock and dam 1 after the lower gate collapsed and warned of the pollution problem in the Mississippi River. Willing’s own health suffered because of his immense workload.

Col. Wildurr Willing


















 Major Dwight F. Johns, 1933-1937

During the height of the drought and Great Depression, the District built locks and dams 3 through 10. Major Johns became the “Father” of this system in the district, completing 75 percent of the work. The district also began its first flood control work with reservoirs for Lake Traverse and Lac qui Parle. Ironically, these structures were later operated primarily to conserve water rather than control floods. Johns also supervised 399 WPA conservation projects with a total cost of over $2 million.

Major Dwight F. Johns


















 Capt. Frank McAdams Albrecht, 1937

Captain Albrecht served the shortest tenure of any St. Paul District Engineer. During his 19 days, he welcomed the newly built hydraulic Dredge WILLIAM A. THOMPSON to the district. The THOMPSON, with a crew of 70, pumped 4,906,699 cubic yards at 4.4 cents per yard in the first season. This dredge operates on the Mississippi River, serving as the district’s main dredging plant.

Capt. Frank McAdams Albrecht


















 Lt. Col. Phillip B. Fleming, 1937-1939

Under Lieutenant Colonel Fleming, the District opened many of the new navigation locks and dams, bringing the 9-foot channel in the district closer to completion. Traffic on the Mississippi River increased 100 percent during 1938 as the Federal Barge Fleet used the new locks. As part of its expanding Civil Works mission, the district began to design small-boat harbors and initiated 21 new flood control projects, including the projects on the Kickapoo and Sheyenne rivers.

Lt. Col. Phillip B. Fleming


















 Col. John W. Moreland, 1939-1943

After Pearl Harbor, the mission of the district radically changed to support the war effort. Colonel Moreland, who had just completed the 9-foot channel project and reduced the district staff, took charge of all U.S. Army construction in the district. Million-dollar projects that usually took years of planning and negotiation now were sometimes completed in hours. Construction included new ordnance plants in the Twin Cities and work on airports in Fargo and Devils Lake, North Dakota.

Col. John W. Moreland


















 Col. Lynn C. Barnes, 1943-1945

Colonel Barnes was a practical tough-minded construction boss. Before he became District Engineer, he worked wonders building the Twin City Ordnance Plant at New Brighton. He built this $86 million plant and shipped the first ammunition within 4½ months, prompting a visit from President Roosevelt. As District Engineer, he continued work on high priority projects. Construction included hangars at Holman Field, an Air Corps radio station in Tomah, lightweight assault craft, and a Minnesota River port for Cargill to build Navy tankers. He also organized a special study of permafrost.

Col. Lynn C. Barnes


















 Major Henry J. Manger, 1945-1946

After World War II, the district focused on Civil Works. Heavy rains and a large snowmelt caused flooding below the headwaters reservoirs for the first time since 1905. The Flood Control Act of 1944 and the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945 authorized many new projects. Under Major Manger, the District began a new era of dam building. White Rock Dam was completed. Lac qui Parle reservoir was under construction. Design started for reservoirs at Baldhill and Pembina and on the Park, Tongue, and Red Lake rivers. These projects required municipalities to construct sewage disposal plants as their contribution to a new concern for water quality.

Major Henry J. Manger


















 Col. Walter K. Wilson, Jr., 1946-1949

Colonel Wilson established the postwar organizational model for the district, which would last for the next quarter century. This mission was divided into five parts: maintenance of the 9-foot channel, operation of existing locks and dams, construction, engineering and surveys, and design/planning groups. Planning and design occupied his administration. Under study were 7 new reservoirs, 45 flood control projects, and 25 navigational studies on the Mississippi River. Floods at Aitkin in 1946, 1947, and 1948 prompted the first plans for a 6-mile diversion channel.

Col. Walter K. Wilson, Jr.

















 Major John D. Keefe, 1949

Commerce on the Upper Mississippi River was making a significant comeback during Major Keefe’s tenure. Over a 3-year period, tonnage had doubled to 12,805,217 short tons. One-half of this tonnage was petroleum products, with sand and gravel, coal, and grain transfer as the other main products. Construction at Homme and Baldhill reservoirs was nearing completion. Several small-boat harbors were just being started. Studies for permanent flood control of Minot began; local citizens attending a public hearing asked the Corps to consider constructing a reservoir on the Souris River above Minot.

Major John D. Keefe


















 Col. Leverett G. Yoder, 1949-1952

Although some military support was necessary during the Korean War, the district was busy with Civil Works functions. In June 1950, President Truman sent troops to Korea, and Colonel Yoder sent engineers to fight the highest recorded floods on the Red River and Mississippi River at Aitkin. A month earlier, Congress provided the Corps with the first flood emergency fund. Congress also asked the District for 138 flood control studies. Under Yoder, flood control became as important as navigation. Yoder dedicated reservoirs at Homme, Baldhill, and Lac qui Parle and a diversion at Dry Run. Master plan studies for public use facilities at all Corps reservoirs began.

Col. Leverett G. Yoder


















 Col. Aldo H. Bagnulo, 1952-1954

Under Colonel Bagnulo, the comprehensive basin study begun in 1948 for the Red River of the North was completed. Orwell reservoir was dedicated. Flooding continued to plague the Aitkin area where the diversion channel was under construction. The responsibility for harbors on Lake of the Woods, which had been transferred to the Duluth District in 1919, was restored to the St. Paul District. Acquisition of the flowage rights and settlement of claims for seepage damages created by the Mississippi River dams were finally settled, 15 years after the dams were completed.

Col. Aldo H. Bagnulo


















 Col. Otto J. Rohde, 1954-1957

St. Paul became one of the largest geographic Districts after the Korean War. Colonel Rohde was given the responsibility for all Lake Superior harbors in 1955 when the Duluth District was abolished. In addition to the increase in Civil Works capacities, the St. Paul District also assumed responsibility for military design and construction. The work included radar and missile sites, airport hangars and runways, Reserve armories, and construction at the Twin Cities Arsenal. Rohde also supervised the completion of the lower lock and dam at St. Anthony Falls.

Col. Otto J. Rohde


















 Col. Desloge Brown, 1957-1960

Under Colonel Brown, navigation regained preeminence in the district. When Brown came to St. Paul, Duluth-Superior was already one of the largest ports in terms of tonnage shipped. After the St. Lawrence Seaway was completed in 1959, Duluth’s importance grew. The district also maintained 12 other harbors on Lake Superior. During the 1960’s, navigation doubled on the Mississippi River. Brown also initiated new flood control projects at Mankato/North Mankato, St. Paul/South St. Paul, Winona, and Rushford. Eau Galle Dam was started. Military design and construction started.

Col. Desloge Brown


















 Col. William B. Strandberg, 1960-1963

During Colonel Strandberg’s administration, the State of Minnesota attempted to take over regulation of the headwaters reservoirs. Although the District retained control, the need to work with the States and other interests was evident. The district was authorized to dredge five 30-foot deep-draft harbors on Lake Superior. Recreational facilities were built at Corps reservoirs. The Great Northern Railway Stone Arch Bridge was altered, the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock was completed, and military design and construction were transferred out of the district.

Col. William B. Strandberg

















 Lt. Col. Leslie B. Harding, 1963-1966

Under Lieutenant Colonel Harding, the District participated in the interagency Upper Mississippi River Comprehensive Basin Study. It also faced the largest flood fight in its history when the Mississippi River had its flood of record. The District’s flood fight efforts cost $1.5 million and saved $108 million, but President Johnson still declared 89 counties disaster areas. This record flood prompted the redesign of flood control projects at South St. Paul, St. Paul, Winona, and Guttenberg. Planning began for dams on the Kickapoo River near La Farge, Wisconsin, and on the Minnesota River near Ortonville, Minnesota.

Lt. Col. Leslie B. Harding


















 Col. Richard J. Hesse, 1966-1969

Colonel Hesse was the district’s first mass media figure. The congressionally authorized St. Croix River study included reservoir alternatives. Many people opposed these dams for environmental and aesthetic reasons. After cutting off the St. Croix study funds, Congress declared the St. Croix a Wild and Scenic River. In preparation for the large floods in 1969, OPERATION FORESIGHT demonstrated that Corps planning could save lives and money and prevent environmental damage. Hesse’s pre-flood mass media campaign became a model for emergency actions. Hesse started or continued major flood control projects at Winona, Guttenberg, Rushford and Eau Galle.

Col. Richard J. Hesse


















 Col. Charles I. McGinnis, 1969-1971

Under Colonel McGinnis, the District began a new era of environmental concern. The district prepared its first environmental impact statements. In 1969, studies of flood problems on the Souris River at Minot began. In spite of growing environmental concerns about the effects of reservoirs, the Flood Control Act of 1970 authorized planning for dams on the Sheyenne, Wild Rice, and Souris rivers. In addition, channel improvement plans were started on the Souris and Rush rivers. Comprehensive basin studies of the Great Lakes and Souris-Red-Rainy River regions were completed.

Col. Charles I. McGinnis

















 Col. Rodney E. Cox, 1971-1974

During the early 1970s, the Corps remained a prime target of the environmental movement. Under Colonel Cox, the environmental impact statement (EIS) became an important part of the planning process. The States of Minnesota and Wisconsin claimed that an EIS had to be done for the Mississippi River and Lake Superior dredging. Court action temporarily halted maintenance on all District navigation projects. Because of environmental concerns, a Federal court also halted construction of the La Farge Dam. In addition, Canadian concerns with water quality and impacts in Manitoba complicated the implementation of the Souris-Red River basin projects.

Col. Rodney E. Cox

















 Col. Max W. Noah, 1974-1976

Although Colonel Noah spent much time on court cases involving Federal jurisdiction over dredging, he initiated a much broader program for the Corps than just navigation and flood control. He dedicated the Big Stone-Whetstone wildlife refuge project. He provided new directions for Corps expertise through an urban studies program of water management for metropolitan Duluth-Superior, water quality studies, beach and shore erosion studies, participation in the national dam safety program, and continued development of recreation and public use facilities. 

Col. Max W. Noah


















 Col. Forrest T. Gay III, 1976-1979

Colonel Gay began his tenure by fighting a major flood in Minot and ended it by directing the fight against the flood of the century on the Red River. Between these floods, he confronted a major drought that caused low levels on the Mississippi River. The district helped organize GREAT I to study the management of Mississippi River resources, designed a nonstructural relocation plan for Prairie du Chien, and began to regulate fill activities in wetlands. Gay also directed the planning of visitor centers at St. Anthony Falls and Lock and Dam 1.

Col. Forrest T. Gay III


















 Col. William W. Badger, 1979-1982

Colonel Badger took over a reorganized District with smaller boundaries. The district transferred its Lake Superior responsibilities to the Detroit District. Major projects in the district included the rehabilitation of lock and dam 1 and the continuing construction at Mankato, Winona, and Big Stone Lake-Whetstone River. Badger reorganized the growing Regulatory Functions Branch, developed a mobilization program, completed the GREAT I implementation study, and elevated Planning to a division status equal to Engineering and Construction.

Col. William W. Badger


















 Col. Edward G. Rapp, 1982-1985

Colonel Rapp assumed command of a District involved in a number of major projects, including the rehabilitation of lock and dam 1, structural flood control projects at Winona and Mankato, and the Corps’ first major nonstructural flood control project (Prairie du Chien). His emphasis on quality customer service and mission execution were demonstrated in mobilization planning, support to military post commanders, and the start of a major rehabilitation program for locks and dam 2 through 10. He also instituted a program to improve communication with the Governors of Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

Col. Edward G. Rapp


















 Col. Joseph Briggs, 1985-1988

Colonel Briggs’ tour as St. Paul District Engineer covered a period of significant change for the Corps and the District. A key element in the changes was the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, the first major water projects bill in 10 years. The Act authorized more than $170 million in flood control and other water-related projects at Rochester, Houston, Marshall, and St. Paul, Minn. Under Colonel Briggs’ direction, the district began implementing the new cost sharing provisions of the Act that significantly changed the financial responsibilities of local sponsors and the Federal government and ultimately changed how the Corps managed the development of water resources projects.

Col. Joseph Briggs


















 Col. Roger L. Baldwin, 1988-1991

Colonel Baldwin began his command during the drought of 1988 with the district during a hotly debated issue – release of water from the headwaters for the Twin Cities. Nine months later, the district was again tested – this time by flooding along the Red River of the North during April 1989. A major organizational change during Baldwin’s tenure presented a great challenge to the district. Implementation of Life Cycle Project Management resulted in the creation of a new Deputy District Engineer for Project Management position and a new Programs and Project Management Division. This not only changed the organization, and the way projects are managed, but created a new senior civilian position within the district.

Col. Roger L. Baldwin


















 Col. Richard W. Craig, 1991-1993

Colonel Richard W. Craig commanded the district during a period of intense project activity and organizational challenges. The district experienced one of its heaviest construction workloads during this period with major projects at Rochester, St. Paul, and Chaska, Minnesota; State Road Coulee (La Crosse), Wisconsin; and Souris River and Sheyenne River, North Dakota. In addition, work continued on the Major Maintenance/Major Rehabilitation effort on the Mississippi River locks and dams. The Corps-wide reorganization proposal during this period created many challenges for the district. At the same time, the long-anticipated relocation of the district office became a reality when the Army Corps of Engineers Centre was selected as the new home of the St. Paul District.

Col. Richard W. Craig


















 Col. James F. Scott, 1993-1995

Colonel James F. Scott commanded the district during a difficult and challenging time. The district’s large construction program was winding down; the region was recovering from the summer floods of 1993; and Federal government downsizing required difficult decisions and creative long-term personnel management. In January 1994, the district was selected to coordinate preparation of a Floodplain Management Assessment for the Upper Mississippi and Lower Missouri Rivers. Directed by Congress, this five-district effort assessed the 1993 flood, the effectiveness of flood control and floodplain management along 3,500 miles of river. The report was published in June 1995. An emerging issue during this period was the Corps’ relationship to Federally-recognized tribes.

Col. James F. Scott


















 Col. J. M. Wonsik, 1995-1998

This period was marked by record flooding in many areas of the district. Under Colonel J. M. Wonsik’s guidance, Corps emergency operations helped to successfully protect 50 communities along the Red River of the North and the Minnesota River, preventing $65 million in damages. During this period, the district continued to respond to the ongoing, record high water at Devils Lake, ND, raising emergency levees, preparing plans for an emergency outlet and continuing work on a long-term feasibility study. The district’s engineering design abilities were recognized when the Rochester Project earned a Corps’ Award of Excellence in 1996. A Corps-wide restructuring occurred in 1997, moving the St. Paul District into a new Mississippi Valley Division.

Col. J. M. Wonsik


















 Lt. Col. William J. Breyfogle, 1998

Lieutenant Colonel William J. Breyfogle commanded the district during a period of intense community interest in corps activities at Devils Lake, ND and Grand Forks, ND/East Grand Forks, MN. District efforts included raising emergency levees at Devils Lake in response to continued flooding, and successfully completing a Plan Comparison Report for the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks in order to proceed with a flood control project on an accelerated basis. The district earned the Chief’s Award of Excellence for the St. Paul Flood Control Project, marking an unprecedented fourth District Award of Excellence within the Corps of Engineers.

Lt. Col. William J. Breyfogle

















 Col. Kenneth S. Kasprisin, 1998-2001

Colonel Kasprisin directed the district through a dynamic period of transition, initiation of major flood protection projects, and emergency operations associated with flooding. To ensure that competent leaders would be available to continue the district’s tradition of quality service to the region, a Leadership Development Program was established. Major reconnaissance studies for three basin-wide watershed studies were initiated, shifting the Corps traditional focus from individual projects to a basin-wide approach. Construction was initiated on the Baldhill Pool Raise, Crookston, and Grand Forks/East Grand Forks flood reduction projects. The district’s commitment to the environment was enhanced by implementation of several ecosystem restoration projects, as well as the reauthorization of the Environmental Management Program. During the Spring 2001 floods, the district provided successful, effective emergency responses to communities in three of its four major river basins.

Col. Kenneth S. Kasprisin


















 Col. Robert L. Ball, 2001-2004

Colonel Ball led the district in response to war, natural disasters and workload transition. He assumed command six weeks before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He oversaw the deployment of district employees to Afghanistan and Iraq and in response to several natural disasters. At home, the district moved forward with its flood protection work at Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Crookston and initiated new projects at Breckenridge and Wahpeton. The district’s environmental efforts continued to earn national attention as the Pool 8 Islands project won the Chief of Engineers Award of Excellence. Colonel Ball also oversaw the district’s implementation of several new Corps-wide work management and team-based initiatives and a shift to a more regional approach to accomplishing the district’s mission.

Col. Robert L. Ball

















 Lt. Col. Thomas E. O’Hara, 2004

Lt. Col. Thomas E. O’Hara, Jr. assumed command of the St. Paul District on June 24, 2004, until July 30, 2004, after serving nearly three years as the deputy district engineer. In April 2002, he deployed on a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, where he served as the deputy joint engineer for Joint Task Force 180 and oversaw all engineer operations in theater. Back in the district, he chaired the budget review task force, where his leadership helped cushion the district against budget shortfalls in FY2004. He also served on the strategic planning board during a period of regionalization and outsourcing. As district engineer, Lt. Col. O’Hara coordinated district activities during Grand Excursion 2004, which saw more than 11,000 people visit the district’s locks and dams to view the massive flotilla.

Lt. Col. Thomas E. O’Hara














 Col. Michael F. Pfenning, 2004-2007

Colonel Michael F. Pfenning led the district during the Mississippi Valley Division transition to a regional business center. He spearheaded responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and rebuilding the New Orleans hurricane protection system. A district first, he spent two tours deployed in New Orleans as the Task Force Hope operations officer. Colonel Pfenning oversaw substantial completion of the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks flood damage reduction project and project certification at the 100-year level of protection. As a testament, the project withstood near-record flooding in 2006. The Dredge Goetz replaced the Dredge Thompson in 2005. Colonel Pfenning emphasized taking care of employees during two nationwide support office realignments. He recognized the contributions of field employees through numerous project site visits. Colonel Pfenning set new standards for communications with partners, stakeholders and employees.

Col. Michael F. Pfenning













 Col.  Jon L. Christensen, 2007-2010

Colonel Jon L. Christensen led the district through an extraordinary increase in workload due to deployments, natural disasters and the economic Recovery Act projects. Projects of note were Lock and Dam 3 rehabilitation, the Fargo-Moorhead Metro study and massive flood risk management missions in both St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, and Devils Lake, North Dakota. Under his watch, the district contributed to recovery operations for the 2007 I-35W bridge collapse and waged successful flood fights in multiple basins in 2009 and 2010. He led the recovery field office response operations during Hurricanes Gustave and Ike in 2008. He deployed 38 employees to support Overseas Contingency Operations. He oversaw the successful move of the district headquarters and stood up the division’s Regional Planning and Environment Division North. Under Colonel Christensen’s superior leadership, the St. Paul District triumphed over every challenge it faced.

Col.  Jon L. Christensen

















 Col. Michael J. Price, 2010-2013

Col. Michael Price led the St. Paul District through a period of tremendous workload and significant accomplishment. His tenure saw the completion of the Tolna Coulee Outlet on Devils Lake, N.D.; the Lock and Dam 3 Navigation Improvement Project; the Pool 8 Islands phase III construction project; and the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System in St. Bernard Parish. Under his command, the district completed the Fargo-Moorhead and Metropolitan Area Feasibility Study in record time, which became the Corps’ benchmark study. In 2011, the district faced major flooding four of the five river basins it manages and saved $4.6 billion in damages by flood fighting. When Minot, N.D., and the surrounding areas flooded, the district received seven FEMA mission assignments and oversaw the removal 61,000 tons of debris and built 848 temporary housing sites.

Col. Michael J. Price


















 Col. Dan Koprowski, 2013-2016

Col. Dan Koprowski began his command at the St. Paul District during the politically tumultuous period of the 2013 budget sequestration and ended it amidst the success of securing construction funding in the Corps’ 2016 Work Plan for the Fargo/Moorhead Flood Risk Management, the Marsh Lake Environmental Restoration projects and the Souris River Basin Feasibility studies. He managed the closing of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam to navigation while securing jobs for the displaced workers. Under his leadership, the Fargo/Moorhead project was selected as the Corps’ pilot for Public-Private Partnership funding. The district also completed a number of projects to include Capoli Slough in Mississippi River Pool 9, Devils Lake City Embankments and Roseau, Minn., flood risk management project. He also brought forth initiatives to improve communication and understanding between employees.

Col. Dan Koprowski

















 Col. Sam Calkins, 2016-2019

Col. Samuel L. Calkins commanded the St. Paul District during a very busy period to include the start of construction on the Fargo-Moorhead project, numerous deployments to support disaster response missions, supporting supplemental infrastructure work across the Corps and construction of the Marsh Lake ecosystem restoration project. Under his leadership, the district worked through several controversial topics to include a lawsuit with the state of Minnesota over the Fargo-Moorhead project, a number of unpopular dredged material management plans, highly contested mining and pipeline permits and the disposition of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock. The district initiated its first two Section 204 aquatic ecosystem restoration projects for Pigs Eye Lake and Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River, completed its Emergency Management Accreditation Program credentialing and initiated emergency repairs to the Lac qui Parle site.

Col. Sam Calkins

















 Col. Karl D. Jansen, 2019-2022

Col. Karl D. Jansen