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Dredging of Mississippi River Underway in Reads Landing

Posted on August 8, 2016

The Mighty Mississippi. It’s frequented by commercial and recreational boats alike, but if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t dredge the river, traffic would come to a halt.

The Dredge Goetz was out working in Reads Landing to remove sand from the Mississippi that was mainly deposited there by the Chippewa River.

“Approximately 100,000 cubic yards a year of sand will flow out of the Chippewa River into the Mississippi here, right at the head of Lake Pepin as well. Once it hits the Mississippi, it distributes and rolls down the rest of Pool 4, and that’s why historically, Pool 4 has been a hotbed for most of our dredging operations with the Goetz,” said Dredge Goetz Lead Inspector Jacob Zanon.

The dredging process is a massive operation consisting of anchors, a cutter head, a pump motor, 3,200 feet of piping, and about 50 men. The dredged sand is deposited at a site along the shore.

“It’s running up on the shore through the trees and up an 80 foot incline onto the top of the placement site and you can see the spill in the background. Right there, currently, we’ll remove 800 cubic yards an hour at this job site,” said Zanon.

If the river is not dredged periodically, the water level can drop low enough that barges and other boats cannot pass through the channel.

“We’re mandated to keep a nine foot channel, so if we don’t do some of this dredging, we have quite a bit of water right now in the system because of the recent rain. If this water drops out, we’re not gonna have a nine foot channel for them to go through. So we’re dredging to make it ten, eleven, twelve feet deep so commercial traffic can continue,” said Zanon.

The sand that is pumped out of the river is eventually removed from the deposit site. It gets transported into Wabasha for beneficial use to build bridges and other construction projects.


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