Possible Changes Coming to Mississippi River

July 10, 2018 09:41 PM

Big changes are proposed for the Mississippi River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking at removing both the upper and lower St. Anthony Falls lock and dam, and lock and dam one downstream.

This means the calm river as we know it could be no longer.

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It would also have an impact on recreational activities.

According to the U.S. Army Corps, when the upper St. Anthony Falls closed to navigation three years ago, commercial traffic really slowed down.

"We've gone from several thousand to practically zero at the upper lock and no commercial towboats at lower St. Anthony Falls," Nan Bischoff, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said.

Bischoff and the Corps wanted to see how much use other locks and dams got, so they studied it. They now say closing all three sites could save the Federal Government millions of dollars.

"It could save the Federal Government $1.5 million per year just in staff and maintenance costs for the sites, then if you add in the dredging, that could be another $300,000 per year to keep the channel open," said Bischoff. 

Lauren Crandall, President of the Minneapolis Rowing Club, says the Minneapolis Rowing Club has been around for more than 140 years.

"It really throws us into a bit of a panic because there is no place else for us to go," Crandall said.

She added that changing the flow on the river would mean navigating either rapids or rocks.

"Either one is just not going to work for us, it would destroy our club," she said.

RELATED: 3 Men Set Off to Paddle Mississippi, Hope to Break Record 

The Army Corps of Engineers has no interest in physically getting rid of the locks and dams, rather keeping them or transferring ownership to someone else, and then it would be up to them what is done.

There are two public meetings to discuss this topic next week. The first one will be on July 16 at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. The second one will be held on July 17 at Highland Park High School in St. Paul. Both meetings will span from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Credits

Jessica Miles

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