US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District Website

COVID-19 and the St. Paul District Navigation Program

Navigation within the St. Paul District remains fully operational. Our staff are incorporating CDC-recommended measures to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 and safeguard our ability to continue our critical navigation operations.

Public areas to include observation decks and guide walls are open at our lock facilities. While these facilities are open, we urge everyone to continue practicing safe social distancing measures and to continue listening to local officials on the best methods to protect yourself. The safety and health of our visitors and employees is our top priority, and we want everyone to be able to experience the river for years to come.

Regrettably, public restrooms continue remain closed until further notice. Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.

Navigation Mission

Navigation is travel or transportation over water. Many different kinds of boats and vessels are used on rivers to move people and products from one place to another.

Navigation was extremely important for foreign and domestic trade and travel in the early days of our country before cars, trucks, trains and airplanes were invented. In those days, rivers were used as "roads" to connect inland settlements to river and coastal ports. Communities established at these ports became important economic, cultural and social hubs in the development of our nation.

Today, navigable inland waterways provide a cost-effective, fuel efficient means for moving major bulk commodities, such as grain, coal and petroleum. Inland navigation is a key element of state and local government economic development and job-creation efforts, and is essential in maintaining economic competitiveness and national security. For more information, view our brochure Inland Waterway Navigation Value to the Nation (PDF).

Navigation activities in the United States take place at thousands of ports and terminals along more than 25,000 miles of waterways. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for facilitating safe, reliable and economically efficient movement of vessels, and it does so by constructing and maintaining navigation channels and harbors, and regulating water levels on inland waterways.
Navigation Channel
Sedimentation in the channel is caused by the normal cycle of silt movement, erosion from high water or heavy rains and changes in river currents. To maintain the 9-foot navigation channel, material that settles in the channel area must be removed. Mechanical or hydraulic dredging are methods for the removal of that material. This material is placed in designated areas along the river. Some of these areas are beneficial use placement areas.

Beneficial use of dredged material is the productive use of the material by the public or private sectors. Examples of common beneficial uses of dredged material in the St. Paul District are upland habitat development, wetland creation, aquatic habitat enhancement, creation of areas for bird nesting, beach nourishment, winter road maintenance, levee repair and improvement, aggregate for concrete, lining fly ash pits, bank protection and general purpose fill. The district is responsible for maintaining 243.6 miles of navigation channel to a depth of at least 9 feet on the Mississippi River from Minneapolis at river mile 857.6 to Guttenberg, Iowa, at river mile 614.0, and 40.6 miles on three tributaries: the Minnesota, St. Croix and Black rivers.

The Corps of Engineers maintains navigation channels, much like road crews maintain highways, and builds breakwaters or jetties to protect public property from shoreline erosion. A 9-foot navigation channel is maintained on the Upper Mississippi River, so river vessels can transport their goods north of St. Louis.

To achieve a 9-foot channel in the Upper Mississippi River, the construction of a system of navigation locks and dams was authorized in 1930. Dams are built on rivers to hold back water and form deeper navigation "pools." Most pools in the United States are maintained at a constant minimum water depth of 9 feet for safe navigation.

Dams make it necessary for river vessels to use a series of locks to "step" up or down the river from one water level to another. Additional benefits from the locks and dams include adding river recreational areas for public use, providing water supply for several river communities and serving as nesting grounds for migratory birds. The St. Paul District has jurisdiction over the 13 uppermost structures, from No. 10 at Guttenberg, Iowa, to Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam in Minneapolis, as well as 1,300 wing dams and 200 revetments.


The St. Paul District provides daily updates for water levels and flows at various points on the St. Croix, Minnesota and Upper Mississippi rivers on its River Information Line, 651-290-5861.

Advantages of Inland
Waterways Transportation

Navigation News

  • Corps of Engineers reopens lock facilities to the public

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is removing the closures to its facilities near the Mississippi River locks and dams from Lock and Dam 2, near Hastings, Minnesota, to Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. The change is effective immediately.
  • Corps anticipates changes to draft dredged material plan

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will be revising its recently published draft Mississippi River Pool 6 dredged material management plan based on the comments it received during its public comment period that ended April 10.
  • Corps of Engineers announces closed areas at locks and dams due to COVID-19

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District has closed all guidewall fishing platforms and observation decks at our locks and dams to the public to protect against the further spread of COVID-19.

Dredging Notices

Dredge Notice 20-41 Indian Camp Light


NOTICE DATE: September 29th, 2020
Proposed Dredging Date: September 29th, 2020
DREDGE CUT NAME: Indian Camp Light
RIVER MILE: 665.3 - 665.8
POOL: 9
Published: 9/29/2020

Dredge Notice 20-40 Freeborn Light


NOTICE DATE: September 28th, 2020
Proposed Dredging Date: September 28th, 2020
DREDGE CUT NAME: Freeborn Light
RIVER MILE: 818.2 - 819.4
POOL: 2
Published: 9/28/2020

Dredge Notice 20-39 Wilds Bend


NOTICE DATE: September 8th, 2020
Proposed Dredging Date: September 9th, 2020
DREDGE CUT NAME: Wilds Bend
RIVER MILE: 730.2 - 730.7
POOL: 5A
Published: 9/8/2020

Dredge Notice 20-38 Head of Raft Channel


NOTICE DATE: September 8th, 2020
Proposed Dredging Date: September 8th, 2020
DREDGE CUT NAME: Head of Raft Channel
RIVER MILE: 687.6 - 688.0
POOL: 8
Published: 9/8/2020

Contact

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Channels & Harbors Project Office

Fountain City, WI
Office: 651-290-5150
mvp.stpaul.channel@usace.army.mil

Navigation

City of Hastings hydro plant dewatering diver safety
New "mule" on for the tow rail at Lock and Dam 6
Tow rail installation
Tow rail rehabilitation at Lock and Dam 6
Tow rail installation
Lock guidewall void
tow boat navigates Lake Pepin
Tow boat navigates the Mississippi River
Tow boat navigates the Mississippi River