Soundings News Articles
  • October

    New Lock at the Soo: Unlocking the Great Lakes

    SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District works on unlocking the Great Lakes by providing a much-needed resiliency at the Soo Locks with the construction of the New Lock at the Soo. The New Lock at the Soo will be the same dimensions as the Poe Lock, 1,200 feet long, 110 feet wide and 30 feet deep. Often called the “linchpin” of the Great Lakes navigation system, the Soo Locks are located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan between the upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. The Soo Locks enable bulk carrier vessels to safely bypass the swift-moving St. Marys River rapids where the water drops 21 feet over bedrock in a three-quarter mile stretch. The St. Marys River is the only connecting waterway between Lakes Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Before the first lock was constructed in 1798, trade canoes had to be unloaded and portaged around the rapids, taking roughly six weeks to complete. Today, the locks operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 42 weeks of the year allowing government, commercial and private vessels to transit safely and more efficiently.
  • September

    ERDC, Buffalo District release dredged material guidance manual for Great Lakes region

    Researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Environmental Laboratory and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Great Lakes Districts — Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago — recently released a technical report which provides guidance for evaluating the environmental suitability of dredged material in the Great Lakes region.
  • March

    Commitment to high-quality USACE bridge inspections

    Structural cracks, buckled or bent steel, visual fretting corrosion – these are the kinds of things at the forefront of a bridge inspector’s mind. Oh, and don’t forget to quantify the severity and extent of all deficiencies. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the highest of standards when it comes to safety inspections and bridge inspections are a big part of that,” according to Andy Wadysz. “Safety is paramount,” he stressed. Wadysz serves as the Detroit District’s Bridge Safety Program Manager, BSPM, for the past 22 years and respects the program’s commitment to high-quality. The primary purpose of the USACE Bridge Safety Program is to ensure all bridges within each district’s inventory are safe for their intended use. Bridge types vary from access bridges, railroad bridges, public pedestrian bridges to complex bridges. When conducting inspections and evaluations of a bridge site for user safety, there are specific requirements, detailed procedures and best practices that are closely adhered to for all bridge types.
  • September

    Logistics team removes area offices’ excess equipment

    In the early morning hours of their five-day trip to Duluth, Minnesota, the Detroit District Logistics team were quietly loading excess equipment onto a flat-bed truck headed south. The equipment’s destination was the UNICOR facility in Kansas, an electronics recycling center that converts electronics into recyclable materials for resale to registered vendors. “By using UNICOR, we estimate $8,000 in savings to the district based on acquisition cost,” said Detroit District Logistics Manager Jena Graham. “Due to the area offices being spread out, it was not cost effective to consolidate their excess at one location for a typical pick-up.” A one-way trip from the District Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan to the Duluth Area Office in Minnesota is nearly a 12-hour drive.
  • July

    Developmental assignment offers growth, connection for USACE employee

    DETROIT - He cannot get enough of the Great Lakes; some might say he’s hooked. By day, John Allis is the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office Chief and by night, he enjoys being in, on or around the Great Lakes with his family. Allis’ office in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District handles a wide range of activities supporting the International Joint Commission, including water level forecasting, flow regulation and monitoring hydroclimate conditions across the Great Lakes. The Corps of Engineers has a reputation of success through skill development and knowledge gain. By design, district employees often have opportunities to do just that through developmental assignments. John recently completed a three-month developmental assignment as Chief of Water Management Division with the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division where he had much broader responsibilities.
  • June

    Corps of Engineers student trainee heads to med school

    SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., -A Lake Superior State University graduate is gaining valuable work experience with the U.S. Corps of Engineers’ Soo Area Office as an Industrial Hygienist-Intern before heading to medical school this fall. Sophie McConkey, a local to the Sault Ste. Marie area, found out about the Corps of Engineers’ student trainee internship through a friend of the family. She applied for the position in early 2020 as a chance to work in a field directly related to her degree and that offered her a chance to grow professionally in her area of study at Lake Superior State University. During an interview with Sophie about her time with the Corps of Engineers and her student trainee internship, she answered the following questions:
  • March

    Corps lowers impact to fish spawning near Soo Locks

    SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (March 5, 2021) - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) officials will use dry blasting during New Lock at the Soo construction to avoid or drastically minimize impacts to fish larvae and adult fish spawning near the Soo Locks. The Soo Locks on the St. Marys River allow vessels to navigate the 21 ft elevation change between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. A new Poe-sized lock being built will provide necessary redundancy in the Great Lakes Navigation System’s critical infrastructure. To build the New Lock, deepening the channel on the upstream side (west) of the Poe lock is necessary. Dredging is scheduled to occur in 2021-2022.
  • May

    Employee Spotlight: Vicky Person

    Vicky Person joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, team three years ago and has over 35 years of experience in the field of geotechnical, environmental and construction quality control in the Midwest.
  • High Water Impacts on Coastal Erosion

    Record high lake levels in 2019 on Lake Michigan have increased the height of the wave impact and accelerated the erosion. Holland, Michigan reported a loss of 50 feet of beach since last summer. Many homeowners and communities have been caught off-guard with the dramatic increase in erosion along the coastline, with numerous homes lost to the collapsing bluff.
  • March

    Memo from the Director of Contracting re: COVID-19

    For USACE Contractors, As the Director of Contracting for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, I wanted to personally reach out to all of you and let you know that we are actively monitoring the situation in regards to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Attached is the guidance we received on planning for potential Novel Coronavirus Contract Impacts.
  • December

    Employee Spotlight: Kelly Schroter

    After participating in a developmental assignment at the USACE headquarters office for four months,
  • Detroit wins Corps Small Business awards

    The Detroit District leadership participated in the Federal Small Business Conference this year and
  • October

    Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan III announced

    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler unveiled an updated action plan under
  • Employee Spotlight: Chuck Gould

    Chuck Gould, lead program analyst, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, recently served
  • November

    Restoring the Boardman

    By Emily Schaefer, public affairs specialistConstruction teams have been actively engaged and moving
  • June

    Biologist plans to fish fulltime

    As a young boy growing up in the small town of Midland, Michigan, he spent his summers fishing,
  • May

    District counsel to serve as federal judge

    By Lynn Rose, public affairs chief, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit DistrictImagine how
  • June

    Soo Locks Winter Work

    By Emily Schaefer, public affairs specialist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit DistrictThey
  • March

    Marie Strum trailblazing as Detroit District’s first female Chief of Engineering and Technical Services Division

    As the new Chief of Engineering and Technical Services Division, Marie Strum brings an emphasis on
  • February

    Soo Locks historic images brought to life

    For years, several hundred images from construction and operations of the historic Soo Locks stayed