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.
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.
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.
A Section 216 study will investigate the appropriate future disposition of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, or USAF, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The USAF was constructed as part of the Minneapolis Upper Harbor project in 1963 as authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1937. Congress closed USAF to navigation on June 9, 2015, under Section 2010 of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to operate USAF for flood damage mitigation. The disposition study will examine the benefits and costs of continuing to operate USAF.
The Minnesota River originates in southwestern Minnesota at the Minnesota-South Dakota border. It drains 16,770 square miles in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa. It flows 335 miles to join the Mississippi River at Mendota, Minnesota, just south of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The hydrology of the basin has been significantly altered, leading to increased erosion, impaired water quality, substantial sediment and nutrient loads, and degraded aquatic ecosystems in the Minnesota River, Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico.
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.
The study area is the Six Mile Creek watershed, a twenty seven square mile watershed located in western Hennepin County, Minnesota. The watershed contains abundant and interconnected lakes and wetland resources, an array of needed improvement strategies, wildlife corridors, and is anticipated to experience growth and development in the coming decades.
These three areas are located on the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in an urban floodplain area near Bloomington, Minnesota. The proposed project goals include various features, such as dredging and removing silt to increase sediment trap capability, replacing existing water control structures, dike rehabilitating or widening to keep it from breaching, reevaluating and adjusting the spillway elevation to keep water from draining into Eagle Creek, rehabilitating the outlet control structure, and dredging channels in Continental Grain Marsh and Fisher Lake to remove silt and increase drawdown capabilities.