Lake Pepin Ice Measurements To Begin

The St. Paul Engineer District will begin its annual Lake Pepin ice measurements on February 15.

Regarded as a harbinger that spring is on the way, the district’s ice measurements can give a preview of the beginning of the navigation season on the Upper Mississippi River.

Lake Pepin, between Minnesota and Wisconsin, is the widest naturally occurring lake on the Upper Mississippi. The lake’s ice is the last major barrier for vessels reaching the head of the navigation channel in St. Paul, Minn.

A Corps survey crew uses an airboat and a global positioning system to collect the data. The information is used by the navigation industry to predict when it’s safe to break through the ice.

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Historically the average date in which navigation is open occurs during the third week of March.

Ice measurements are typically completed weekly until the first tow arrives. Ice measurement results are posted on the St. Paul District website at: