Dredge Potter begins its 83rd dredging season - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Dredge Potter begins its 83rd dredging season

Dredge Potter in service on the Mississippi River Dredge Potter in service on the Mississippi River

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dredge Potter launched for the beginning of the 2015-2016 dredging season yesterday from the St. Louis District’s Service Base.

The Potter’s mission is to maintain a nine-foot deep, 300-foot wide channel on 300 miles of the Mississippi River from Saverton, Missouri, to Cairo, Illinois, making navigation possible for towboats to move commerce up and down the river.

In addition, the St. Louis District maintains a navigation channel on the lower 80 miles of the Illinois River as well as the lower 36 miles of the Kaskaskia River.

The Dredge Potter has been a critical part of maintaining the navigation channel since it was originally launched as a steam-powered dredge in 1932.

The Potter is a “dustpan dredge” named for Brigadier General Charles Lewis Potter who was St. Louis District commander from 1910 to 1912, and President of the Mississippi River Commission from 1920 to 1928.

The Potter’s dustpan cuts a 32-foot-wide swath along the bottom of the river.

The dredge pump brings sediment in through the intake pipe and out to a floating pipeline to be placed outside of the navigation channel.

The Dredge Potter can move 4,500 cubic yards of sediment per hour.

It is both the oldest U.S. Army Corps vessel and the most modern dredge: the Potter was refitted with a modern diesel power plant and other upgrades in 2001, and a new pilothouse was added in 2011.

Since 1979, the Potter has dredged nearly 162 million cubic yards of sediment to ensure reliable navigation on the river.

In addition to channel maintenance dredging by the Potter, the Corps of Engineers uses effective water management, a lock and dam system, and innovative river engineering to balance diverse needs of Mississippi River stakeholders.

The St. Louis District’s navigation mission provides for the effective transportation of more than 100 million tons of commodities through the St. Louis Harbor each year.

For more information, visit http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation.aspx

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