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.
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.
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.
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.