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Corps of Engineers, city of Wabasha officials discuss dredged material management

Published April 25, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, and city of Wabasha, Minnesota, leadership met to discuss the dredged material management plan for Lower Pool 4, April 19.

The Corps is working in partnership with the city in an effort to find a suitable, permanent home for nearly 270,000 cubic yards of material dredged annually from an area within the Mississippi River south of Lake Pepin to Wabasha. The material needs to be removed from the river to ensure the 9-foot navigation channel remains open for the navigation industry.

The Corps’ current plan eliminates the need to use the Southside Fitzgerald location near River Drive, an area identified within the city for its close proximity to the river, as well as previously identified agricultural lands. The new planning effort explores options such as partnering with the city under a program known as Section 217(d). This program was developed with the passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. Under this program, the city would become an active partner in the removal and permanent placement of dredged material.

Elsewhere, Corps officials are actively pursuing options to acquire all necessary real estate requirements through the use of willing sellers. With the amount of material generated by this section of the Mississippi River, a permanent upland placement site will still need to be identified. The Corps is actively seeking willing sellers in the areas between Wabasha and Winona, Minnesota.

“We’ve worked extremely hard with the city of Wabasha to develop a plan that supports the city’s future planning efforts and our need to maintain the Mississippi River navigation requirements,” said Bob Edstrom, project manager. “We are very optimistic that the new plan will be a win-win for the community and the Corps of Engineers. It will just take a little longer to ensure it’s the right plan for everyone involved.”

Wabasha Mayor Emily Durand also praised city staff, elected officials and the Corps for working together to find alternative solutions that do not require the use of the Southside Fitzgerald site or nearby agricultural lands. “We are very pleased with level of collaboration that the Corps has shown in working with the city on this issue,” Durand said. “Together, the city and the Corps have put significant time and effort into finding reasonable alternatives that meet the city’s goals. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Corps to work out the final details and explore additional long-term opportunities to protect the interests of our city and residents.”

Release no. 19-033