The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is currently exploring options to continue its maintenance requirements of the 9-foot navigation channel. This channel includes the Mississippi River, from Minneapolis to the district's southern boundary at Lock and Dam 10, in Guttenberg, Iowa, as well as small portions of the Minnesota, St. Croix and Black rivers.
Part of the maintenance effort includes finding permanent, suitable locations to place material removed from the channel. Doing so ensures navigation vessels can safely move bulk cargo to ports within the United States and beyond. St. Paul District staff are in the process of looking at a variety of options in various locations along the Mississippi River to place dredged material. The purpose of these dredged material management plans, or DMMPs, is to prepare a coordinated, long-term plan for managing dredged material.
These plans were initiated because permanent placement sites previously used along the Mississippi River have reached capacity. In addition, existing island transfer sites have a limited capacity. Dredged material placed at island transfer sites will need to be offloaded to permanent sites. Therefore, additional permanent sites are needed to accommodate the Corps’ dredging needs.
Costs associated with managing the dredged material have increased significantly during the past 20 years, so the plans will also look for ways to reduce the costs to tax payers.