The Missouri River is open, once again, for business and recreation.
The Army Corps of Engineers reports the Coast Guard has given the all-clear for traffic on all stretches of the Missouri, including the last stretch closed to barge or recreation traffic, from Ponca in northern Nebraska to Rulo in the southeastern corner of the state. The Coast Guard closed the Missouri River to all traffic when the river flooded this spring. It had re-opened the river with the exception of the stretch along the Nebraska border, where it had given waivers to a few tow-boat operators last week.
Civil Engineer John LaRandeau with the Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha says the Missouri remains high, but seems to be settling back to pre-flood conditions.
“The river in reality is in real good shape. It has sufficient depth for draft for the barges, but there’s certain sections of the river that had some damaged structures and chute areas that were damaged and so there’s some high currents in a few locations,” according to LaRandeau. “So, there will be some challenges in a few reaches.”
LaRandeau says recreational boaters have been anxious to get back on the Missouri.
“A lot of folks are waiting to get on the river, to get back on the river and fish and all these other things. In fact, in some cases use their boats to get access to various locations, to retrieve boats and all kinds of things,” LaRandeau says.
LaRandeau says the Missouri has been remarkably free of debris, a normal problem after flooding.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been lowering releases from upstream dams, allowing the Missouri River to withdraw into its banks, expected sometime next week.
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews US Army Corps of Engineers Civil Engineer John LaRandeau [6 min mp3]