Obama signs legislation closing Upper St. Anthony Falls lock

President Barack Obama signed legislation Tuesday that calls for the closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam within one year to prevent invasive carp from reaching waterways north of the Twin Cities. 

The lock — the northern-most navigational point on the river — allows boats and barges to navigate the Mississippi by using a 49-foot lift next to the St. Anthony Falls. 

The state’s Department of Natural Resources issued a statement Wednesday thanking Gov. Mark Dayton and the state’s congressional delegation for supporting the closure.

“Closing the Upper St. Anthony FAlls lock is the single biggest and most important step Minnesota can take to keep invasive carp out of the Upper Mississippi River watershed, including Mille Lacs Lake,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “This will protect our local economies and outdoor heritage in the north-central part of the state.”

The DNR is working on other efforts to prevent the spread of the invasive carp, including creating barriers in southwestern Minnesota to keep carp from entering state waterways from the Missouri River system, and working with the University of Minnesota Invasive Species Research Center to thwart the spread of carp through lower locks and dams on the Mississippi.