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Upper Mississippi River 2021 navigation season comes to an end

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published Nov. 24, 2021
Updated: Nov. 24, 2021
A motor vessel pushing barges on a river.

The Upper Mississippi River 2021 navigation season comes to an end Nov. 23, 2021 with the last tow of the season, the Motor Vessel Johnathon Erickson.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, locked the last tow to depart St. Paul, Minnesota, yesterday, Nov. 23 – ending the 2021 navigation season on the Upper Mississippi River.

The Motor Vessel Jonathan Erickson, pushing five barges with scrap metal, soybeans and grain was the final tow to depart St. Paul this year. Traditionally, the last tow departing the capital city heading south of Lock and Dam 2, near Hastings, Minnesota, has marked the unofficial end of the navigation season. The 2021 season started March 19 when the Motor Vessel R. Clayton McWhorter arrived in St. Paul.

The 2020 season ended Nov. 30, when the Motor Vessel ‘The Colonel’ departed St. Paul. Historically, the last tow to leave St. Paul usually occurs around the last week of November or the first week of December.

While we say goodbye to the 2021 navigation season, St. Paul District staff will be busy this coming winter with maintenance projects scheduled at six of its locks and dams. The repairs are scheduled to be completed by March 17, 2022.

The Corps closed Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam and Lock and Dam 1, both in Minneapolis, to navigation Oct. 14.

The St. Paul District’s navigation program provides a safe, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation system on the Upper Mississippi River for the movement of commercial goods and for national security needs. Keeping this system open is vital to the nation’s economy. The industries using the inland navigation system saved approximately $430 million instead of overland shipping methods.

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Release no. 21-098