ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, released the 2014 navigation statistics for the Upper Mississippi River today, Dec. 10.
The 2014 navigation season was one of the shortest seasons on record. A historically late start, coupled by summer floods and emergency dredging, finished with the earliest closure at Lock and Dam 7, near La Crescent, Minnesota, since 1970. Despite the challenges, there were 3,577 lockages during the 2014 navigation season. There were 3,323 lockages during the 2013 season.
The total lockages included 2,286 from commercial navigation; 1,246 recreational boat lockages and 45 additional lockages from government watercraft or a similar group. Corps staff locked 3,257 recreational vessels as a part of the recreation lockages. Typically, the lock operator will allow multiple recreation boats within the chamber during a lock.
The commercial navigation industry transported 9,359,996 tons of commodities through the lock during the season. This is an increase of 1,135,993 tons compared to the 2013 season.
The season unofficially ended when the Motor Vessel Mary K Cavarra passed through Lock and Dam 2, in Hastings, Minnesota, Nov. 20. The Motor Vessel Ginger Griffin New was the last lockage of the 2013 season, and she was locked through Nov. 27, 2013. The season started April 14 when the Motor Vessel Angela K reached St. Paul, Minnesota.
Navigation statistics fluctuate from year to year, depending on the weather, river flows and the length of the navigation season. The St. Paul District maintains a 9-foot navigation channel and 13 locks and dams from Minneapolis to Guttenberg, Iowa. Keeping this system open is vital to the nation’s economy.
The nearly 650 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2011 $175 million budget, nearly 2,800 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $271 million to the national economy. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.
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