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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Public Affairs Office
180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 290-5807
Fax: (651) 290-5752
St. Paul District
Crosscurrents Winter 2020 is now available
The winter 2020 edition of Crosscurrents is now available.
Corps continues march toward diversion completion
With every swing of a hammer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, continues its progress toward completing the Fargo – Moorhead Metro Diversion Flood Risk Management Project.
Construction reaches new heights on Red River of the North project
Construction is literally reaching new heights this summer on the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project.
Corps inspects facilities across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota for potential community alternate care sites
ST. PAUL, Minn. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is performing site inspections across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota to support a nationwide FEMA mission assignment to convert existing large spaces into community alternate care sites to augment COVID-19 response efforts.
Lock and dam tow rail systems get upgrades
The St. Paul District is investing more than $18 million in the tow rail system, vital pieces of equipment which assists tows locking through lock and dams when traveling upriver.
Finding a way to make it possible – deer hunt for the physically disabled
The 10th annual physically disabled and veterans deer hunt took place on the wildlife sanctuary within the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, St. Paul District, Orwell Dam and Recreation Area, near Fergus Falls, Minnesota, from Nov. 14 to 16, 2017.
St. Paul employee part of team searching for Amelia Earhart
District employee Kenton Spading, rehired annuitant, regulatory, believes he and his team could be in the midst of unraveling the decades-old mystery of what happened to famous aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, who both went missing in 1937.
Flood of ’97 overwhelms Wahpeton/Breckenridge
(originally published in the October-November 2007 Crosscurrents) Engineering division’s Matt Bray and Tim Grundhoffer fought two swiftly rising rivers, blizzard conditions and extreme temperatures only to be overcome by conditions beyond their control and to lose portions of a town not just once, but twice, in the same flood. Bray, a geotech engineer, and Grundhoffer, a structural engineer, were assigned as flood subarea engineers in Wahpeton, N.D., and Breckenridge, Minn., during the 1997 floods that wreaked havoc across the Red River Valley. Although they worked together closely, Bray worked primarily in Wahpeton and Grundhoffer in Breckenridge. Pete Corkin, from Rock Island District, assisted them.
Memories linger of disaster at East Grand Forks/Grand Forks
(first published in Crosscurrents Oct.-Nov. 2007 edition) The district, the locals, the volunteers –they all put up a tremendous fight, but ultimately the Red River of the North rose too high, too fast. And although it’s been 10 years since the spring flooding in the Red River Valley destroyed much of Grand Forks, N.D., and East Grand Forks, Minn., the sights, the sounds, the emotions of this event linger for those who were there. "I can still picture those breaches like it was yesterday,” said Neil Schwanz, a geo-tech engineer. “I can picture myself standing [there], watching all this happen.”
Meeker Dam: Controversy plagued one of the first locks on the Mississippi River
Listed as one of the “controversies” in Raymond Merritt’s book “Creativity, Conflict & Controversy: A History of the St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” the Meeker Dam project continues to provide intrigue.
Gouverneur Kimble Warren
Maj. Gouverneur Kimble Warren was the first district engineer of the St. Paul District. After the Civil War, he came to St. Paul in 1866 and began work surveying the Mississippi, Chippewa, St. Croix and Wisconsin Rivers. He also began the preservation of St. Anthony Falls and designed the nation’s first reservoir system, the Mississippi River Headwaters Reservoir System.
St. Paul District regulatory boundaries
In 1976, the St. Paul District regulatory staff consisted of four people (clerk included) that focused on evaluating projects under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The scrutiny was largely of bridges, trestles, docks/piers and dams that had the potential to impede navigation.
Expansion of the regulatory mission
The Department of the Army Regulatory Program is one of the oldest organizations within the federal government. Initially, its purpose was to protect and maintain the navigable capacity of the nation's waters. The St. Paul District’s regulatory role in protecting Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s water resources has evolved and expanded greatly since the program began regulating commerce and navigation on the Upper Mississippi River in 1866.
History of recreation in the St. Paul District
The St. Paul District constructed and placed approximately 15 dams into operation starting with Lake Winnie, Leech Lake and Pokegama Lake dams on the Headwaters of the Mississippi River in 1884 and concluded with the Highway 75/Bigstone Dam in 1972. Except for the Headwaters dams that were constructed at the outlets of large natural lakes, the remaining dams created new reservoirs. These lakes, reservoirs and tail water areas created prime locations for outdoor recreation and visitors slowly starting utilizing the areas as railroads, road systems, vehicles and accessibility became more modern.
History of the Headwaters Recreation Areas
The Mississippi River Headwaters dams, located in north central Minnesota, were constructed and placed in operation between 1884 and 1912. Maj. General Warren, the first St. Paul District commander, noted the importance of the Mississippi River Headwaters area during field surveys in the 1860s. Less than 10 years later, Congress authorized a feasibility study to determine whether a series of dams and reservoirs could aid in stabilizing water flow in the Mississippi River between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. As a result, a system of dams capable of raising water levels and storing annual spring runoff from six existing lake systems was designated. These structures are located at the outlets of Gull Lake, Leech Lake, Big Sandy Lake, Cross Lake, Pokegama Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish. Two of these lakes, Leech and Winnibigoshish, are located within the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, uses the Dredge William L. Goetz to help maintain 850 miles of the Upper Mississippi River, 335 miles of the Illinois River and other inland rivers. The St. Paul District acquired it in the spring of 2005.
Red River Flood of 2009
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, declared a victory late April 2009 after facing massive flooding in the Red River of the North river valley for more than a month-and-a-half. By the end of the fight, the district had distributed 11.3 million sandbags, 4,201 rolls of plastic and 136 pumps, as well as let 50 contracts, built approximately 70 miles of emergency levee and spent more than $32 million.
Floods of 1997
The St. Paul District faced one of its biggest challenges ever when, in the timeframe of around six weeks in 1997, it simultaneously fought floods in three river basins – the Red, the Minnesota and the Mississippi.
Engineering the Falls: The Corps of Engineers' Role at St. Anthony Falls
People have always been drawn to the power and beauty of St. Anthony Falls. For Native Americans, the falls possessed religious significance and harbored powerful spirits. For the early European and American explorers, the falls provided a landmark in a vast wilderness, as well as an interesting geological phenomenon. During the 19th century, settlers, tourists and artists were drawn to St. Anthony Falls' picturesque beauty, while entrepreneurs seized the water power of the falls for their lumber and flour mills. Meanwhile, promoters of river transportation viewed St. Anthony Falls as an obstacle to be overcome, as they dreamed of extending navigation on the Mississippi River above Minneapolis.
Dredge W.A. Thompson and early dredging
In 1930 the 9-foot draft channel was legislated by Congress to increase commerce on the river. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the series of 29 locks and dams between St. Louis and Minneapolis, creating a stairway of water for river traffic. Since the river is constantly shifting its load of sand and sediment and tributaries along the way contribute more it is necessary to remove the material from the bottom of the channel to prevent a closure to navigation. This process of underwater excavation is called dredging.