Navigation: Pool 3 and Upper Pool 4 Dredged Material Management Plan – Dakota and Washington and Goodhue County, Minnesota, and Pierce County, Wisconsin

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published April 24, 2024
Updated: April 24, 2024


The Pool 3 and Upper Pool 4 Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) study area is located between Lock and Dam 3 near Red Wing, Minnesota, and the southern tip of Lake Pepin at Reads Landing, Minnesota, spanning roughly 51 river miles from 764 to 815.2. The study area includes several communities near the main navigation channel including Red Wing, Minnesota, and Pepin, Wisconsin.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Channel Navigation Project, and one method the Corps uses to keep the channel the right size is dredging river soils or “material.”

The purpose of the DMMP is to prepare a coordinated, long-term plan for managing dredged material in Pool 3 and Upper Pool 4. This plan was initiated due to needs for dredged material management upland placement sites.

There are eight historic dredge cuts in Pool 3 and 4 in Upper Pool 4. Of those 12, eight are considered active. Since 1981, the average amount of material dredged per year in Pool 3 and Upper Pool 4 is approximately 59,500 cubic yards, however in the past decade that has increased to 83,000 cubic yards.

The DMMP is evaluating a list of potentially suitable sites to develop the federal standard or base plan for managing dredged material for a minimum of 20 years. The federal standard is defined as “the dredged material disposal alternative or alternatives identified by the Corps which represent the least costly alternatives consistent with sound engineering practices and meeting the environmental standards established by the [Clean Water Act’s] 404(b)(1) evaluation process…” (33 CFR 335.7).


In fiscal year 2024, the Corps will begin drafting the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) for the Pool 3 and Upper Pool 4 DMMP. The Corps will obtain feedback from affected stakeholders, including via a public meeting to inform local communities of the navigation mission, federal acquisition process, and the Corps’ desire to identify willing sellers for the possibility of permanent upland placement of dredge material. 

A draft report with the TSP alternatives is planned for release for public review in 2026. The Corps will evaluate and consider all alternatives identified in the public comments for the final DMMP.

Subsequent real estate acquisition is anticipated to begin in 2027 and will be phased over time, pending prioritization of parcels and availability of funds.


Congress authorized the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Channel Navigation Project via the Rivers and Harbors Acts of 1930 and 1932.

Expended to date:                                      $0