What would an undammed metro Mississippi River look like?

Lower St. Anthony Falls and downtown Minneapolis skyline, illustrated with more riverbank

Dam removal would expose more shoreline and islands. (Image by LVBrown Studio courtesy of National Park Conservation Association) 

This year, we engaged over 800 people to discuss the potential futures of two Twin Cities locks and dams. You asked questions, voiced your concerns and worked to reimagine a deindustrialized riverfront. 

The Army Corps study starting this fall will investigate and research the options. Dam removal would create striking differences in the river gorge, dropping water levels and exposing the riverbed’s boulders, islands and rapids. Although FMR does not yet have a stance on dam removal, we are intrigued by the possibility of a more free-flowing river. (Learn more about dam removal.)

One of the things we heard the most this summer was that it’s difficult to envision an undammed river. 

The National Parks Conservation Association has taken on the challenge to help us do just that. They've rendered images of how the removal of Lower St. Anthony Falls and Lock & Dam No. 1 would change the river. Below, you can compare the present-day Mississippi River and its possible future.

Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam illustration

(Photo by Andrey Kr; illustration by LVBrown Studio, courtesy of National Parks Conservation Association)

 

Lake Street / Marshall Avenue Bridge

Lake St. / Marshall Ave. Bridge illustration

(Photo by John Anfinson; illustration by LVBrown Studio, courtesy of National Parks Conservation Association)

 

Lock and Dam 1 (the Ford dam)

Lock and Dam 1 (the Ford dam) illustration

(Photo by John Anfinson; illustration by LVBrown Studio, courtesy of National Parks Conservation Association)

Learn more and get involved

This process will unfold over many years, and FMR will be involved every step of the way.

We'll host a variety of workshops, tours and events about the future of Twin Cities locks and dams in the coming years. We're also happy to give special presentations to community groups upon request. And we'll be sure to tell our advocates about ways to weigh in and shape the future of our metro river.

Read our latest updates here. For additional details, contact FMR Land Use & Planning Program Director Colleen O'Connor Toberman, ctoberman@fmr.org, 651.222.2193 x29. The best way to keep up with the latest news and hear about opportunities to get involved is to sign up as an FMR River Guardian below.

Become a River Guardian

Sign up and we'll email you when important river issues arise. We make it quick and easy to contact decision-makers. River Guardians are also invited to special social hours and other events about legislative and metro river corridor issues.

Explore the future of metro locks and dams

Upcoming Events

Saturday, February 11, 2023 - 9:30am to 11:30am
Butter Bakery Cafe, Minneapolis
Flexible! May through mid-October
St. Paul
Spring through summer
Throughout the Twin Cities metro area