The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will begin its annual ice measurements at Lake Pepin on Feb. 13.
The Corps takes ice measurements on Lake Pepin annually to forecast the navigational outlook on the Upper Mississippi River. Lake Pepin, the widest naturally-occurring part of the Mississippi River, is located between the Minnesota cities of Red Wing and Wabasha. Measurements taken here give the best outlook as it is the last segment in the navigation channel in which winter ice will break up.
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 and begin the 2019 navigation season.
Last year, the Motor Vessel Michael Poindexter was the first tow to pass through Lake Pepin and reach St. Paul, Minnesota. She arrived April 11, 2018. Historically the average date in which navigation is open occurs during the third week of March.
Normally, ice measurements are completed weekly, or biweekly, until the navigation season begins. The data will be posted on the St. Paul District’s website.
Find past and present Lake Pepin ice measurements at http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Ice-Measurements/.