Dredge & Channel Maintenance
One of the missions of the St. Louis District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is to maintain a 9 foot navigable channel on the Upper Mississippi River from river mile 0.0 (confluence of the Ohio) to river mile 300.0 (below Lock and Dam 22), the lower 80.0 miles of the Illinois River and on the Kaskaskia River from Fayetville, IL to the Mississippi River. This mission is accomplished by several methods.
In the Dredging Operations program the first method is to use the Channel Patrol Boat PATHFINDER to identify possible dredging locations by performing channel reconnaissance surveys. The Pathfinder also assists the Coast Guard with buoy positioning on the navigable waterways within the St. Louis District Boundaries.
Another method utilized by our Engineering Hydraulics Branch is to design and construct structures in the river that maintain sufficient depths in the waterway. To find more information on river structures follow this link: Applied River Engineering Center.
Whatever the case, dredging is the last method for providing a navigable channel.