The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, completed the first ice measurements of the year on Lake Pepin, near Red Wing, on Wednesday.
Survey crews from the Corps' Fountain City Service Base measured 19 inches of ice. Last year's ice depth was 15 inches on February 15th.
The measurements help the navigation industry determine when it might be possible to get tows upstream to St. Paul. The lake is usually the last obstacle preventing northbound tows. Lake Pepin is used as the benchmark because the ice melts slower in this area due to the lake width and the slower current.
The Corps does not anticipate any up bound, out-of-town tows in Lake Pepin until at least March 15th due to ongoing construction at Lock and Dam 6 until March 11th.