Mississippi River

After the Mississippi River flooded four years ago, state and federal authorities offered buyouts to affected homeowners. Now the state budget impasse has left some of those deals in limbo.

Amanda Vinicky

Heavy rains have led to flooding all across the Midwest in recent days: in Iowa, Illinois, and in the small town of Clarksville, Missouri, which sits on the Mississippi River. That river is expected to reach its crest there Wednesday, and residents hope the walls they’ve built to keep out the water will hold. Especially because this time, they had to build those walls themselves.

Ask a Clarksville resident how long they’ve lived there, and the answer is usually given in the context of a flood.


Two Mississippi River bridges are closed due to flooding, and with more storms in the forecast, there is growing concern that conditions could worsen in parts of Missouri and Illinois.  

The Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, Missouri, closed yesterday. The next nearest bridge is in Hannibal, Missouri, 35 miles to the north.  
The Quincy Memorial Bridge in Quincy, Illinois, shut down this morning. The impact there isn't as severe because Quincy has two bridges, and the other is not threatened.

Jamey Dunn
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

A new study indicates that the naturally occurring filtration systems in the Mississippi River are being overwhelmed by the amount of nitrogen going into the water. 


A portion of the Mississippi River between eastern Iowa and northern Illinois has reopened to barge traffic, as officials continue to investigate the sinking of a towboat still leaking diesel fuel and oil.
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Colin Fogarty says officials determined Tuesday night that other boats can safely navigate the waterway. A queue has cleared, and boats are traveling through at a slower pace.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began using heavy equipment to remove nearly 900 cubic yards of limestone from the navigation channel at Thebes in Alexander County in December.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Army Corps of Engineers blew up part of a levee in 2011 to divert rising Mississippi River floodwaters away from Cairo. Now, in early 2013, Corps engineers find themselves in completely opposite circumstances, cautiously taking measures to ensure that commercial shipping can continue as water levels drop. 


Recent severe drought conditions that destroyed crops across Illinois also threaten to shut down barge traffic on the country’s most important waterway for commercial shipping. 

Photo Essay: The River and Us

Jul 1, 2012
Kayaking the Cache River State Natural Area in southern Illinois. Recreation, such as boating and fishing, is a way to enjoy and explore the state’s rivers.
Chris Young

Nature photographers, especially this one, are fond of using their long, telephoto lenses to isolate their subjects and eliminate anything that distracts from the beauty of the image.

We make sure utility poles and wires don’t show up. We leave out roads, cars and other evidence of civilization when we are focusing on nature.
That’s fine, except that sometimes we eliminate an element from the picture that looms large over our rivers and other natural areas — us.

Yes, people are an integral part of our landscape, our natural areas and our rivers.