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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Public Affairs Office
332 Minnesota St., Suite E1500
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone: (651) 290-5807
Fax: (651) 290-5752 


Tow to transit Lake Pepin, opening up the head of navigation on the Mississippi

Published March 17, 2020
MV Miss Doris at Lock and Dam 10

Motor Vessel Miss Doris locks through Lock and Dam 10 upbound March 15, 2020. MV Miss Doris originated in the Quad Cities and was the first tow to enter the St. Paul District for the 2020 navigation season

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Motor Vessel Miss Doris, originating from the Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois and pushing 12 barges en route to St. Paul, Minnesota, is expected to transit Lake Pepin, later today or early tomorrow.

Located between the Minnesota cities of Red Wing and Wabasha, Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River is the last major barrier for vessels reaching the head of the navigation channel in St. Paul, Minnesota. The lake is the last part of the river to break up, because the river is wider and subsequently the current is slower there than it is at other reaches of the river. If a tow can make it through Lake Pepin, it can make it all the way to St. Paul.

The Corps would also like to remind boaters to “share the road.” Commercial towboats with barges are less maneuverable and take longer to stop than recreation boats. They also cannot move out of the main channel of the river. Before getting underway boaters should consider:

  • Taking a safe boating course
  • Wearing a life jacket at all times
  • Leaving alcohol behind to reduce risk
  • Checking the forecast
  • Filing a float plan with a friend or family member

The St. Paul District maintains a 9-foot navigation channel and operates 12 locks and dams to support navigation from Minneapolis to Guttenberg, Iowa. Keeping this system open is vital to the nation’s economy. The commercial navigation industry estimates an annual average savings of nearly $270 million by using the inland waterways instead of overland shipping methods.

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Release no. 20-028