Painter Creek is part of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, which includes part of the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and its western and northwestern suburbs. The Painter Creek Watershed has been extensively drained and ditched as a result of increasing demand for agriculture. This caused a loss of wetland and riparian habitat and increased sediment and nutrient loads downstream into Jennings Bay on Lake Minnetonka. Due to the presence of the ditch system, the frequency of which the wetlands are inundated from stream flows has decreased benefits to the habitat and water quality.
Lake Pepin extends about 22 miles in length from the delta of the Chippewa River to approximately River Mile 787 which is about 3 miles downstream of Red Wing, Minnesota. Upper Lake Pepin consists of channel border islands and backwater lakes grading into an expansive, shallow open water area with little physical structure. Sedimentation and sediment resuspension have caused a loss in water depth diversity of the backwater lakes and isolated wetlands above Lake Pepin as well as a loss in aquatic vegetation.
Under the Continuing Authorities Program (CAP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is authorized to plan, design and construct certain types of water resource and ecosystem restoration projects without additional and specific congressional authorization. The purpose is to implement projects of limited scope and complexity. Each authority has specific guidelines and total program and per-project funding limits. Studies are cost-shared 50/50 during feasibility. Most projects are cost-shared 65 percent Federal and 35 percent non-Federal during implementation, unless otherwise noted.
The St. Paul District operates and maintains 13 locks and dams from Upper St. Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. Each lock and dam is a critical step in the "stairway of water" that makes navigation possible between Minneapolis and St. Louis, Missouri. These facilities are aging structures, with locks and dams 2 through 10 originally constructed in the 1930s. These sites include a dam bridge and varying numbers of dam gates. The moveable dam gates are one of the most critical system components because they control pool elevation for navigation, flood control and environmental purposes.
Granting licenses for private hydropower development at Federal facilities falls within the purview of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Private hydropower facilities currently in operation at St. Paul District sites include Xcel Energy at Upper St. Anthony Falls, SAF Hydropower at Lower St. Anthony Falls, Twin Cities Hydropower (Ford Hydropower) at Lock and Dam 1 and the city of Hastings Hydropower at Lock and Dam 2.
The city of Hastings, Minnesota, holds Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license 4306, which granted it the authority to design, construct and operate a hydropower facility on the Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 2 in Hastings. The licensed facility consists of a powerhouse, which is adjacent to the dam and contains two 2,200-kilowatt turbine/generators and a power distribution system. The total 4.4-megawatt estimated capacity is enough to provide power to 3,500 households.
The basic objectives of the Levee Safety Program are to develop balanced and informed assessments of levees within the program; evaluate, prioritize and justify levee safety decisions; and recommend improvements to public safety associated with levee systems. The Corps created the National Levee Database, inventoried all levees in the program and improved inspection procedures. The Corps is developing a method to manage its portfolio of levee systems and is reviewing and revising current levee-related policies and procedures.
Pool 2 is the navigation pool created by the construction of Lock and Dam 2 at Hastings, Minnesota, at river mile 815.2. The pool is approximately 32.4 miles long and stretches upstream to Lock and Dam 1 in Minneapolis at river mile 847.6 (often referred to as the Ford Dam). Between river miles 818 and 820, the navigation channel switches from one bank of the river to the other and back again creating a near 90-degree bend in the river at mile 819.
The Lower Pool 4 Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) study area is located between Lock and Dam 4 and the foot of Lake Pepin, river miles 753.0 to 764.0. The purpose of the DMMP is to prepare, a coordinated long-term plan for managing dredged material in Lower Pool 4 of the Upper Mississippi River for the purposes of continued operation and maintenance of the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Navigation Channel Project.
The Minnesota River had been recognized as highly degraded and a significant sediment source filling Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River and delivering nutrients to the Gulf of Mexico. The Minnesota River Basin Reconnaissance Study, Section 905(b) Analysis recommended an “Integrated watershed, water quality management, and ecosystem restoration analysis, leading to the development of a basin scale watershed management plan” for the Minnesota River Basin. The purpose of this Minnesota River Basin Interagency Study (MRBI Study) was to implement that recommendation by engaging agency partners and using advanced hydrologic modeling and environmental benefit analysis. The intent was to understand water, sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus transport across large landscapes to evaluate hydrologic, sediment and nutrient runoff response to historic, existing and probable future conditions.
Earthfill embankments are integral to each of the Mississippi River Locks and Dams 2 through 10. The purpose of this project is to reestablish and armor degraded embankments to prevent further erosion and potential failure during high water events. The existing rock protection is well past its intended design life and does not perform satisfactorily. Wave action from high water causes continued widespread erosion.
Miter gates are integral to Mississippi River Locks and Dams, 2 through 10. Miter gates are comprised of two leaves that provide a closure at one end of a lock. Locks and Dams 2 through 10 have utilized the same miter gates since their inception. Over time, distress has been observed and has led to serviceability and safety issues. The purpose of this project is to restore the gates, increasing longevity and operational readiness, while decreasing repair costs and downtime due to maintenance of failure.
The tow rail system is integral to the operation of each of the Mississippi River Locks and Dams 2 through 10. It is attached to the top of the lock guidewall and helps guide tows through the lock chamber. Each system is comprised of an operating unit, rail and traveling kevel or “mule.” The Locks and Dams 2 through 10 tow rail systems have been deteriorating over the past several years, requiring rehabilitation of these systems.
The Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), seeks to provide a safe, reliable, cost effective and environment sustainable waterborne navigation system by implementing switchboats at five locks, constructing mooring cells and seven new 1,200 foot locks. NESP will restore the aquatic and terrestrial habitat to a more natural condition on more than 100,000 acres throughout the system through a wide variety of ecosystem projects.
The Pool 2 Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) study area is located between Lock and Dam 2 near Hastings, MN and extends upstream to Lock and Dam 1, river miles 815.2 to 847.7. The purpose of the DMMP is to prepare a coordinated long-term plan for managing dredged material in Upper and Lower Pool 2 of the Upper Mississippi River for the purposes of continued operation and maintenance of the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Channel Navigation Project.
This project will notch a series of wing dams throughout Pool 2 in order to improve main channel border habitat for fishes. Wing dam notching will enable downstream scouring, which creates overwintering habitat. The project area is in the middle and lower half of Pool 2, Upper Mississippi River, downstream of St. Paul, Minnesota; spanning Dakota, Ramsey and Washington counties, Minnesota.
The Pool 5 Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) study area is located between Lock and Dam 4 at Alma, Wisconsin, and Lock and Dam 5 near Minneiska, Minnesota, spanning nearly 15 river miles from 752.8 to 738.1. The purpose of the DMMP is to prepare a coordinated long-term plan for managing dredged material in Lower Pool 5 of the Upper Mississippi River for the purposes of continued operation and maintenance of the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Channel Navigation Project.
Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in the Upper Mississippi River are a significant threat to the endangered Higgins eye pearlymussel (Lampsilis higginsii) and winged mapleleaf (Quadrula fragosa). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District and Engineer Research and Development Center are conducting a study in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the National Park Service; the Departments of Natural Resources from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa; and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. Recommended management alternatives outside the Corps’ existing authorities would need to be implemented by others.
The Tribal Partnership Program is authorized by Section 203 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000. The Tribal Partnership Program provides authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in cooperation with Indian nations to study and determine the feasibility of carrying out projects that will substantially benefit Indian nations. Activity may address (A) projects for flood damage reduction, environmental restoration and protection and preservation of cultural and natural resources; (B) watershed assessments and planning activities; and (C) such other projects as the Corps, in cooperation with Indian tribes and the heads of other federal agencies, determines to be appropriate.
The Prairie Island Indian Community is located on Pool 3 of the Mississippi River about 12 miles southeast of Hastings, Minnesota. Lands owned by the tribe include islands within and surrounding Sturgeon Lake, a backwater lake on the western side of the navigation channel of the Mississippi River. During past work with the tribe, they have expressed an interest in working to protect islands and improve habitat there, especially at the upper end of Sturgeon Lake. This project is to address sedimentation, erosion and degradation of culturally significant habitat on Prairie Island Indian Community’s tribal land in Sturgeon Lake.
The St. Paul District is responsible for maintaining 244 miles of the Upper Mississippi River 9-foot channel navigation system from the head of navigation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa. The project is located in or contiguous to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. The navigation project within the St. Paul District includes 13 sets of locks and dams that are operated and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition to the locks and dams the project includes channel maintenance, recreation and natural resource activities.
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 the head of navigation at Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa. The navigation system also includes the lower navigable portions of the Minnesota, St. Croix, and Black Rivers.
Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) is a long-term program of ecosystem restoration and navigation improvements for the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS). NESP will improve system capacity and reduce commercial traffic delays through construction of seven new 1,200-foot locks, mooring cells, and switchboat implementation.