Planning Assistance to States: Mississippi River Water Level Management

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published March 15, 2018
Updated: March 29, 2022

The purpose of this comprehensive plan is to: (1) develop regionally-supported action plans for managing pool water levels; (2) improve knowledge of biological responses to water level manipulation, improving public knowledge and engagement; and (3) increase the feasibility and affordability of water level management.


This study considers all pools of the Mississippi River within the St. Paul, Rock Island and St. Louis Districts.


In April 2017, the Upper Mississippi River Water Level Management Workshop facilitated discussion about interest and ability in achieving routine, systemic, large-scale water level management; i.e., what it would look like, associated challenges, and recommendations for partnership engagement and action.

In November 2017, the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers develop a comprehensive plan to evaluate opportunities for more routine, systemic water level management implementation within the Upper Mississippi River Basin. The five state natural resource agencies as well as federal agencies and nonprofit conservation organizations are also committed to participating in this regional collaboration effort.


On February 20, 2018, a financial cost-share agreement was executed between the Corps and the non-federal sponsor, the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association. The study will be complete in spring of 2022 with the finalization of Water Level Management Opportunities for Ecosystem Restoration on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway:  An Update to the NESP Environmental Report 53.


The study was authorized by Section 22 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1974 (Public Law 93‒251), as amended. The study was conducted under the Corps’ Planning Assistance to States program, following the 50/50 cost share formula with the non-federal sponsor.


The total study cost is estimated to be $360,000 ($180,000 federal / $180,000 non-federal). The Upper Mississippi River Basin Association, the non-federal sponsor, is providing their cost share in work-in-kind.

Total Federal Funds Allocated to Date            $180,000