Mississippi River Flooding Increases Need for Emergency Dredging

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul District awarded a $4.7 million contract on May 31 to LS Marine Inc. of St. Paul, to conduct maintenance dredging within the Mississippi River.

Work provided by the contractor-partner has enabled the district to maintain the 9-foot navigation channel after historic spring flooding moved sediment in the channel. The contract provided a minimum guarantee of $1.25 million for two mechanical dredging plants through the end of the 2019 navigation season, with rights to exercise work options through 2024.

“These additional dredge operations are critical in ensuring the channel is ready for the shipping industry once flood waters recede,” said Dan Cottrell, district dredging manager. “The options on the contract allow us to get to work quickly if we see similar conditions in coming years.”
Cottrell said that during a typical spring there are two or three areas of the river that require dredging, but this year’s flooding has left at least a dozen places that are no longer at the required 9-foot depth.

The St. Paul District has three dredge operations working in the Mississippi River: the Dredge Goetz crew at Crats Island, near Wabasha, Minnesota; a contracted mechanical dredging crew at Fisher Island, near Alma, Wisconsin; and a government mechanical dredging crew near Homer, Minnesota.