Preparing Dredge Potter for the upcoming dredging season

With spring arriving and higher water on the Mississippi, the crew of the St. Louis District’s Dredge Potter is busy doing maintenance on the 90-year-old vessel preparing for the upcoming dredging season.

USACE photo

Carrying out the district’s mission of maintaining a nine-foot deep, 300-foot-wide channel on 300 miles of the Mississippi River from Saverton, Mo., to Cairo, Ill., the Potter helps make navigation possible for towboats to move commerce up and down the river.

The dredge can move 50,000 cubic yards per day of alluvial materials from the bottom of the river bed and send the material long distances through a floating discharge pipe.

During operation, the dustpan dredge swings from side to side alternately, using its port and starboard spuds as a pivot, with cables attached to anchors on each side controlling lateral movement.

Built in 1932 during the Great Depression, the Dredge Potter is the Corps’ oldest dredge and was originally launched as a steam-powered vessel.

Today’s 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.