St. Croix River Project Channel Maintenance

Updated September 2015
Published Feb. 27, 2015




Location/DescriptionThe St. Paul District is authorized to maintain a 9-foot navigation channel on the St. Croix River from the mouth at the confluence with the Mississippi River near Prescott, Wisconsin, to river mile 24.5 near Stillwater, Minnesota. The authorized width is 200 feet. A 3-foot channel is authorized from river mile 24.5 to river mile 51.8 near Taylors Falls, Minnesota. The authorized width for this reach is 25 feet, and the controlling depth is 1 foot at extreme low water. The project is located on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.

The project above Stillwater was completed in 1900, the 6-foot channel from the mouth to Stillwater was completed in 1930, and the 9-foot channel from the mouth to Stillwater was automatically established by creation of Mississippi River Pool 3 in 1938.

The project is only maintained to the level of use. Dredging was last completed in 1989 just prior to the end of barge traffic in the early 1990’s. Project condition surveys are performed as needed.

Snagging from Stillwater to Taylors Falls was conducted until 1972 when the Wild and Scenic Rivers System was established. Since 1972, the Corps has only conducted snagging operations one time (1979) due to lack of public demand. Snagging would only be initiated if requested by the National Park Service.

The Corps is authorized to maintain this project if required and funded. Dredging could still be required at the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River to ensure excursion boats or other unexpected commercial traffic. Xcel Energy has a coal plant at Bayport, Minnesota, which is now served by rail. However, project viability gives Xcel the option to use barges to keep rail service costs in check.

The U.S. Coast Guard repositioned the aids to navigation on the 9-foot navigation channel reach in spring 2010 to improve navigation safety.

The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1878, 1927 and 1935 authorized the navigation channels. The project is maintained by dredging and snag removal as needed. Operation and maintenance of the project is a 100-percent Federal responsibility.

Future funding for maintenance of the St. Croix River will compete against maintenance on other higher tonnage waterways.