Small-Boat Harbor Dredging, St. Paul, Minnesota

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published Oct. 2, 2015
Updated: March 30, 2022

The St. Paul Small-Boat Harbor is on the lower end of Harriet Island in St. Paul, Minnesota, at Upper Mississippi River mile 839.6 on the right descending bank. The length of the harbor is 2,375 feet; the width varies from 200 to 400 feet. The Corps of Engineers is authorized to maintain the harbor to a depth of 5.0 feet below low control pool elevation of 687.2 feet mean sea level (msl). The city of St. Paul is the non-federal sponsor for the project and is required to furnish a suitable placement site for the dredged material. The city or its designated operator, the St. Paul Yacht Club, is responsible for all docks and similar facilities at the harbor. The harbor is designed for use by small recreational craft.


Original construction of this project was completed in 1949. Since 1990, the St. Paul Small-Boat Harbor has been dredged on 16 occasions. An average of 8,208 cubic yards has been dredged per event. The St. Paul District provided funds for dredging in 2002, which was the last year reprogramming of funds was allowed.  In 2001 and 2006, the city of St. Paul performed dredging at its own expense because Corps of Engineers funding was not available. The harbor was last dredged with Corps funding in 2018.

Dredging is currently needed because conditions in the harbor are very poor. Harbor users have voiced concerns but dredging support from the Corps cannot be provided without funding. Hydrographic surveys will continue to be performed as needed to assess conditions, and the information will be provided to the city of St. Paul (non-federal sponsor for the project). Dredging will be performed in the future as funds are appropriated by Congress.


Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945; House Document 547, 76th Congress, 3rd Session.


Operation and maintenance of the project is funded under the Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Operation and Maintenance appropriation. In fiscal year 2008, Congress appropriated $186,000 to fund maintenance dredging at the St. Paul Small-Boat Harbor. The dredging cost accounted for $133,525.50. After the study was completed in 2011, the remaining funds of the original appropriation were used to remove about 2,100 cubic yards of material. In fiscal year 2017, an allocation of $75,000 was provided through the work plan. The city of St. Paul requested $500,000 for dredging through the Community Project Funding program. That request was part of the fiscal year 2022 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Funding bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee in July 2021. If funded, extensive dredging would be completed within the harbor.