NESP Upper Mississippi River Mooring Facilities

USACE Rock Island and St. Paul Districts
Published Feb. 16, 2024
Expiration date: 4/6/2024

The Corps is seeking public input on the locations, construction, and future barge use of the proposed mooring facilities. Specifically, the Corps is seeking information on existing significant resources or other environmental, historical, and cultural concerns associated with the Project. The Corps will use the public input to help guide Project decision making. To fulfill the National Environmental Policy Act requirements, the Corps will document and address the public input in an environmental assessment (EA). When the draft EA is complete it will be made available for another public input opportunity.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the alternative analysis and preferred alternative for this project through April 5, 2024.

Comments can be submitted via this online COMMENT FORM, through email at: CEMVR_Planning@usace.army.mil, or by writing to the address below.

Department of the Army
US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District
Attn: Hoffmann (PD-C)
Clock Tower Building
P. O. Box 2004
Rock Island IL 61204-2004

PROJECT INFORMATION

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Rock Island and St. Paul Districts (Corps), identified potential mooring facilities (Project) in support of the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program on the Upper Mississippi River. The Corps is seeking public input on environmental resources, historical and cultural resources, and any other input regarding the Project locations.

Mooring facilities are structures within the river that vessels can use to temporarily anchor. A mooring cell is a circular sheet pile structure usually filled with earth and/or concrete. A dolphin is a smaller mooring structure typically made up of multiple steel pilings (Enclosure 1). Specific materials and methods used for construction would be determined by the composition of the river bottom.

In the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the UMR-IWW System Navigation Feasibility Study, the Corps identified mooring facilities as small-scale navigation features that would save time per lockage, improve safety, and reduce shoreline erosion caused by barge towboats waiting on the shoreline. Congress authorized theses small-scale features in the 2007 Water Resources Development Act (Title VIII - Upper Mississippi and Illinois Waterway System, Section 8003 – Authorization of Construction of Navigation Improvements).

The Corps, along with leaders in the Navigation Industry, identified seven locks and dams that would benefit from mooring facilities to reduce commercial traffic delays. These locations were provided to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), the Corps’ research and development center, to evaluate vessel traffic and identify unofficial mooring areas currently in use near the locks and dams listed in Table 1. Using GPS data collected from transceivers onboard vessels, the study (Enclosure 2) identified areas, 20 miles upstream or downstream from each lock, being used as unofficial mooring locations. The results of this study guided the selection of the proposed mooring facility locations.

 

Table 1. Approximate Locations of Proposed Mooring Facility Features

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District

Lock & Dam

County and State

Mississippi River Pool and River Mile

Miles from Lock Chamber

St. Paul District

7

Winona County, MN

Pool 7, RM 704.3

1.5

7 (Dolphin)

Winona County, MN

Pool 7, RM 704.2

1.42

10

Clayton County, IA

Pool 10, RM 615.5

0.38

Rock Island District

11

Dubuque County, IA

Pool 11, RM 583.5

0.43

14

Scott County, IA

Pool 14, RM 498

4.62

14

Rock Island County, IL

Pool 14, RM 495

1.45

15

Scott County, IA

Pool 16, RM 482

0.96

20

Adams County, IL

Pool 21, RM 342.8

0.40

22

Ralls County, MO

Pool 22, RM 301.9

0.68

 

 

The proposed Project includes eight potential mooring facilities between La Crescent, MN and Saverton, MO (Enclosure 3; [Table 1]). The proposed mooring facility locations (Enclosure 4) would provide incremental time-saving benefits to the navigation industry by providing a place for towboats to tie off as they await passage through the locks. Currently, to hold position, towboats must move close to shore and ground their barges or maintain engine power within the area. With a mooring facility at the proposed locations, towboats could minimize sediment re-suspension by tying off to mooring structures and allowing their engines to run at idling speed or be turned off.

The Corps is seeking public input on the locations, construction, and future barge use of the proposed mooring facilities. Specifically, the Corps is seeking information on existing significant resources or other environmental, historical, and cultural concerns associated with the Project. The Corps will use the public input to help guide Project decision making. To fulfill the National Environmental Policy Act requirements, the Corps will document and address the public input in an environmental assessment (EA). When the draft EA is complete it will be made available for another public input opportunity.