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City of Wabasha, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers team up to manage Mississippi’s dredging

The dredge sand goes to a sand pit owned by Kohner Materials in Wabasha.

Posted on January 24, 2024

The city of Wabasha announced Monday it is partnering with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to manage the Mississippi River’s dredged sand.

The moment the partnership became public, trucks began to move piles of dredged materials to a sand pit owned by Kohner Materials, a Wabasha-based company.

Wabasha Port Authority President John Friedmeyer said this partnership between a local government and a federal government agency is one-of-a-kind.

“It allows the Corps and the city to work together in managing what could have been a big problem for the city,” Friedmeyer said. “This is the first time that this agreement is used on the river. It’s the first time it’s used within the interior of the United States. It has only been used a few times in other parts of the country, so it is kind of a model for what could possibly happen for other communities in the future.”

Army Corps officials said the dredged sand will be available for both public and private uses — including for construction and agricultural projects in the Wabasha area.

They said about 25-percent of the one million cubic-yards of sand that the St. Paul District annually removes from the Mississippi actually comes from the Wabasha area. Mayor Emily Durand said this is a win not only for the Army Corps and the city of Wabasha, but also for the community.

“There is a significant amount of freight that is moved along the Mississippi and that cost of moving that freight, as well as the ability to move it on the river versus on our highways, it affects everybody. It affects farmers, it affects the entire region and it affects the food chain.”

Wabasha Mayor Emily Durand

Both Mayor Durand and Friedmeyer said they are delighted about this partnership.

“It was nice that a federal organization or entity such as the Army Corps really came to the table and became partners with us,” Friedmeyer said. “What could have been a big problem for the city became a huge opportunity.”

Mayor Durand also said the Mississippi is an important commercial corridor and a primary blood vessel of this part of the region. She said as a small city on the waterway, it is important for her and the community to cooperate with officials for the longevity of the river.



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