Innovating dredged material management

Dredging the Mississippi River 9-foot navigation channel is a critical component to ensure the movement of commercial goods. To maintain the channel, the St. Paul District removes around 1 million cubic yards of dredged material, or river sand, every year. This is enough material to fill US Bank Stadium. 

Maintaining the navigation channel is vital to the regional economy. A safe, reliable navigation system allows agricultural producers to save nearly $1 per bushel by shipping corn and soybeans via the Mississippi River navigation rather than other transportations methods. 

Dredged Material Management Plans by pool

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The Pool 2 dredged material management plan public comment period expired Jan. 8, 2020. The final plan and Finding of No Significant Impact document was signed July 1, 2020.


Pool 2 Dredged Material Management Plan 
Dredged Material Management Plan
 


 

Corps staff are currently working with our federal, state and local partners to develop a draft dredged material management plan for Pool 9 within the Mississippi River. There is no current timeline for releasing the draft document.

 


 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, released the draft dredged material management plan for the Mississippi River’s Lower Pool 4, March 22. A public meeting to discuss the plan and to receive public comments was held April 13, at the Wabasha-Kellogg High School. A 30-day public comment period expired April 19.

DRAFT Feasibility Report and Integrated Environmental Assessment
Appendix A - Traffic Impact Analysis
Appendix B - Coordination and Correspondence
Appendix C - Qualitative Assessment of Climate Change Impacts
Appendix D - Draft Finding of No Significant Impact
Appendix E - Real Estate Plan
Appendix F - Sediment by Pool
Appendix G and H - Placeholder
Appendix I - Wetland Assessments
Plate 1 - Screened Sites
Plate 2 - Tentatively Selected Plan Sites and Transportation Routes


The 2017 Lower Pool 4 draft dredged material plan was released for public comment May 11, 2017. The comment period was extended four times before closing Aug. 25, 2017. The 2017 draft plan was never implemented.

Click here to view the draft 2017 report.


 

The Pool 5 draft dredged material management plan public comment period concluded Oct. 18, 2019. The final plan and Finding of No Significant Impact document was signed Feb. 10, 2020.

Here are the links to the final plan:

Pool 5 Dredged Material Management Plan
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H

 


 

The St. Paul District released its updated Mississippi River Pool 6 draft dredged material management plan for public review June 14. The plan and integrated Environmental Assessment are available on our public notices webpage here: https://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Home/Public-Notices/. Comments on the draft EA should be submitted no later than July 15 via mail by addressing all correspondence on this project to District Engineer, St. Paul District, Corps of Engineers, ATTN: Regional Planning and Environment Division North; 180 Fifth Street East; Suite 700; St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-1638, or by email at StPaulDMMP@usace.army.mil.  

The Corps released the original draft plan for public comment Feb. 6, 2020. The comment period was then extended an additional 30 days before concluding the review April 10, 2020. Upon conclusion, Corps officials decided to conduct further review and revise the draft plan based on public comments. 


Open House 

The Corps is hosting an open house to discuss the draft plan and integrated EA June 22, at the Winona Historical Society, 160 Johnson St., Winona, MN, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. The public is welcome to drop in any time to learn more and meet with staff. People needing special accommodations are asked to contact Bob Edstrom at 651-290-5026 or robert.k.edstrom@usace.army.mil  no later than June 20.

 


Corps staff are currently working with our federal, state and local partners to develop a draft dredged material management plan for Pool 9 within the Mississippi River. There is no current timeline for releasing the draft document.
 


 

Corps staff are currently working with our federal, state and local partners to develop a draft dredged material management plan for Pool 10 within the Mississippi River. There is no current timeline for releasing the draft document.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Corps officials are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of Corps employees and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are adhering to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Corps of Engineers Headquarters guidelines. This includes limiting public engagements and conducting virtual meetings when and where applicable. Corps officials continue working on dredged material management plans but NOTHING will be finalized without a complete public review and in accordance with all National Environmental Policy Act rules and regulations.

The Channel Maintenance Management Plan is a comprehensive, long-term plan for guiding channel maintenance activities in the St. Paul District. The plan evolved from the GREAT study (1974-1980) and subsequent planning efforts to implement GREAT study recommendations. It provides long-term planning, establishes coordination procedures and an evaluation process for dredged material placement site alternatives and provides historic data related to the channel maintenance program. While long-term in nature, the plan is designed to accommodate new information and changes.

Please visit the CMMP webpage here for more information.

The Great River Environmental Action Team I, or GREAT I, study took place from 1975-1980. The study was an interagency effort involving the Corps of Engineers; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Soil Conservation Service; U.S. Coast Guard; and the states of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The primary objectives of the study were the development of a detailed site-specific channel maintenance plan and recommendations for the management of the river system and its interrelated components within the river corridor. One of the main products of the study was a channel maintenance plan which recommended dredged material placement sites for all historic dredge cuts within the St. Paul District. An Environmental Impact Statement was completed as a part of the study.

Please visit the CMMP webpage here for more information.

The St. Paul District dredges around 1 million cubic yards of dredged material every year from Minneapolis to Lock and Dam 10, in Guttenberg, Iowa. This is approximately enough material to fill U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis or Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Nearly a third of this material comes directly from Pools 4 – 6.

Section 217 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 authorized the Corps of Engineers to work with non-federal sponsors to establish agreements to manage dredged material at a dredged material placement facility. The St. Paul District is currently exploring this opportunity with the communities of Wabasha, Minnesota; and Winona, Minnesota. Section 217 has typically been utilized for harbor dredging in the past. This would be the first national application for channel dredging, so the St. Paul District is leading the way toward revolutionizing our approach to dredged material management.

The Federal Standard is the least costly alternatives consistent with sound engineering practices and meeting the environmental standards established by the Clean Water Act’s Section 404(b)(1) evaluation process.

Please visit 33 CFR Part 335.7 or 33 CFR § 335.4 for more information.

The Tentatively Selected Plan, or TSP, is the plan that a Corps of Engineers team determines to be the best option for placing dredged material within an area. The TSP generally adheres to the Federal Standard.

The Corps of Engineers tries to avoid placing material in a wetland due to the need to comply with the Federal Standard and the desire to be a good steward of the environment. While we make every effort to avoid filling wetlands, sometimes the need arises to do so. In these rare circumstances, we work with our partners to adequately mitigate the need to fill a wetland with dredged material.

The Corps is mandated by Congress to maintain the navigation channel which is critical to the local and national economy. The Corps of Engineers has several tools to maintain the 9-foot navigation channel. These tools include the locks and dams system, surveying and dredging. Dredging is required, in addition to the locks and dams, due to an ever changing river bed and the movement of sediment. Dredging allows Corps officials the ability to remove deposited sediments from the riverbed, which helps navigation vessels safely move commodities.

Placing dredged material on land owned by other government agencies (federal, state and local) can be challenging due to the need to ensure the material placement conforms to the needs and mission of the agency that owns the land. Corps officials are in constant communication with our partners to seek beneficial opportunities when and where feasible.

Filling abandoned mining pits, ravines and low-lying areas are often considered in the Corps’ planning process. These are often great opportunities to reclaim mined land. However, a number of site-specific conditions may prevent these sites from being selected as part of the Tentatively Selected Plan, or TSP, all of which are equally applicable and are also considered at any other sites evaluated. For instance:

-The location is too far from the river which significantly increases the cost associated with placing material there;

-The location(s) are generally smaller in size and lack the necessary capacity to store a minimum of 20 years of dredged material;

- The locations are generally smaller in size and often reduce and/or eliminate efficiencies in managing the material, which ultimately drives up costs; and

-A location may have environmental concerns such as wetlands; or hazardous, toxic, radioactive or waste materials that would prohibit the Corps from using the site.

As a general rule, Corps officials try to avoid wetlands but they can be filled if it is deemed to be the most environmentally acceptable solution for a given area. Corps officials would mitigate any damage and/or destruction of wetlands if they were chosen as the TSP.

Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 authorizes 10 pilot projects for beneficial use of dredged material.
Section 204 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 provides continuing authority to study and implement small aquatic ecosystem restoration projects using dredged material.
Section 217 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 authorizes the Corps of Engineers to implement public-private partnerships to manage dredged material.
Dredged material is incorporated into topsoil products that meets Minnesota Department of Transportation specifications for use on highway shoulders where specific drainage requirements are needed.
The St. Paul District is actively seeking landowners willing to accept dredged material or to sell potential placement sites.
Bring dredged material directly to shore instead of using temporary islands whenever possible to reduce life-cycle dredging costs.
The St. Paul District is seeking permission to use non-standard real estate instruments where less than a fee title interest would be sufficient to support the Corps of Engineers needs.
The public, private entities and government agencies are encouraged to take material free of charge from Corps of Engineers dredged material stockpiles.

Contact

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Channels & Harbors Project Office

Fountain City, WI
Office: 651-290-5150
mvp.stpaul.channel@usace.army.mil

Historic Documents

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The Channel Maintenance Management Plan is a comprehensive, long-term plan for guiding channel maintenance activities in the St. Paul District. The plan evolved from the GREAT study (1974-1980) and subsequent planning efforts to implement GREAT study recommendations. It provides long-term planning, establishes coordination procedures and an evaluation process for dredged material placement site alternatives and provides historic data related to the channel maintenance program. While long-term in nature, the plan is designed to accommodate new information and changes.


The Great River Environmental Action Team I, or GREAT I, study took place from 1975-1980. The study was an interagency effort involving the Corps of Engineers; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Soil Conservation Service; U.S. Coast Guard; and the states of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The primary objectives of the study were the development of a detailed site-specific channel maintenance plan and recommendations for the management of the river system and its interrelated components within the river corridor. One of the main products of the study was a channel maintenance plan which recommended dredged material placement sites for all historic dredge cuts within the St. Paul District. An Environmental Impact Statement was completed as a part of the study.

Please visit the CMMP webpage here for more information.