The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul (Minn.) District, locked its last tow of the season on Nov. 30, ending the navigation season on the Upper Mississippi River.

Traditionally, the last tow heading south of Lock and Dam 2, near Hastings, Minn., has marked the unofficial end of the navigation season. The towboat The Colonel locked through Hastings Nov. 30. The R. Clayton McWhorter was the first tow of the 2020 season. It locked through April 6. The Colonel is owned and operated by Southern Towing Co., Memphis, Tenn.

The 2019 season ended on Nov. 28. Historically, the last tow to leave St. Paul usually takes place the last week of November or the first week of December.

This winter, the Corps will begin winter renovation and maintenance at Lock and Dam 4, in Alma, Wis., Dec. 7. The repairs require the lock to be completely closed during the maintenance. The lock repairs are scheduled to be complete by March 14.

The Corps closed Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam and Lock and Dam 1, both in Minneapolis, to navigation Nov. 7. Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam was permanently closed to all navigation in 2015.

The St. Paul District’s navigation program provides a safe, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation system on the Upper Mississippi River for the movement of commercial goods and for national security needs. Keeping this system open is vital to the nation’s economy.