Missouri River

St. Louis residents, activists and city officials gathered on Sept. 8, 2016, at the Gateway Arch riverfront to express opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Eli Chen

A federal judge on Friday denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But the U.S. Departments of Justice, the Army and the Interior temporarily halted construction of the project.

 

The Army will not authorize pipeline construction on Corps of Engineers land bordering or under Lake Oahe in South Dakota until it can determine if it needs to reconsider past decisions. The three departments also asked the pipeline company to stop construction on other lands.

 

Meanwhile, some St. Louis officials and activists are banding together to show solidarity with the tribe.

 

The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline is set to be built on a 1,172 mile diagonal from the Bakken/Three Forks formations in North Dakota down to Patoka, Ill., about 75 miles east ofSt. Louis. The pipeline would cross under the Missouri River in two locations. That has people in St. Louis concerned about local water quality.

Provided by Missouri Department of Conservation

Organizers are expecting hundreds of volunteers at the annual Confluence Trash Bash on Saturday morning to clean up trash and debris from riverbanks and streams in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County.

The Trash Bash focuses on the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and has nine work sites stretching from the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge to Creve Coeur Lake. This is the eighth year for the event, which is one of the largest litter cleanups in the St. Louis area.

Water levels on the Mississippi River rise to flood stages underneath Eads Bridge.
Sarah Kellogg

Most of the major waterways in the St. Louis region have crested or are near their crests following the wettest June on record.  More than 13.1 inches of rain fell last month, nearly an inch more than the previous record set in 2003.

High water levels on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers are declining and the Missouri River at St. Charles is forecast to crest at about four feet above flood stage Saturday afternoon.

(via Flickr/clip works)

Updated at 6 p.m., Friday, June 19:

More than a week's worth of persistent rainfall is testing the region's system of levees and reservoirs

George Caleb Bingham painted 'The Jolly Flatboatmen' in 1846. The oil-on-canvas painting is part of the St. Louis Art Museum's Bingham exhibit.
Courtesy of the St. Louis Art Museum

A new exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum tackles the personal interests of a Missouri painter known for his depictions of 19th century elections and politics.

“They are the most spectacular paintings he did,” said Melissa Wolfe, the new curator of American art at the museum.

Danny Brown

In St. Louis, the Missouri River sometimes gets overshadowed by the Mighty Mississippi. But it has center stage in a new book. Missouri River Country: 100 Miles of Stories and Scenery from Hermann to the Confluence combines abundant photographs and the work of 60 authors to tell the story of the region.

"The Missouri is kind of out of sight out of mind a lot of times," said the editor of the book, Dan Burkhardt. "Often times when we do hear about it is when it misbehaves, when it floods." He compiled the book to highlight all the positives the river has to offer.

Book cover

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Back then, farmland stretched out around her with fields of alfalfa and corn. She could walk across the road to the Missouri River. And each spring, she’d hunt morels in the woods. 

Jane Sehnert grew up in Chesterfield Valley, before strip malls and outlet malls and highway moved in. Today, the Valley’s a bustling and busy place, more concrete than green. But the treasure she remembers from growing up aren’t gone.

“You just have to look for it a little harder.”

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON — "An enormous ditch ... running liquid mud" is how novelist Charles Dickens described the mighty Mississippi River after his brief visit to St. Louis in the 1840s.

Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

A new report released Tuesday by a coalition of environmental groups focuses on the need to revamp national water pollution standards for coal-fired power plants.

The report cites Ameren's Labadie power plant in Franklin County as one of the worst waterway polluters in the nation.

(Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio)

Developing Story, will be updated

Updated at 10:35 a.m. Thursday, June 6:

MSD says the Mississippi River has dropped enough to turn the pumps back on at Watkins Creek, ending the discharge of untreated wastewater into the river. The agency is asking that residents continue to avoid floodwaters in the area of the station, which is in the 11000 block of Riverview in Spanish Lake.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. with information from MSD:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – A major water resources bill approved Wednesday by the U.S. Senate calls for more public-private partnerships in river and harbor infrastructure, speeding up environmental reviews and studying ways to maintain Mississippi River navigation during severe droughts and floods.

Andrew Wamboldt/KOMU News - via Flickr

A storm system that's dropping snow on the western half of the state will bring up to four inches of rain to the St. Louis area by Sunday.

But don't expect much in the way of flash flooding, says National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs.

"We're not necessarily expecting flash flooding in the classic sense - where you see a very quick rising water coming down the stream," Fuchs said. "But with that being said, there will be some roads in poor drainage areas that could go underwater."

via Flickr/TeamSaintLouis (Army Corps of Engineers)

Updated 2:10 p.m. with information about excavation and blasting.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. to include comments from Jody Farhat of the Corps of Engineers.

The amount of water flowing into the lower Missouri River will be increased this week because of concerns about colder temperatures, but the increase isn't likely to boost the level of the Mississippi River downstream.

(via NASA/Goddard Conceptual Image Lab)

An updated Mississippi River forecast is predicting that  low-water levels will likely linger throughout the winter.  The forecast exacerbates concerns that shipping may be impacted along a key stretch near St. Louis.

The latest outlook by National Weather Service Hydrologist Mark Fuchs shows that without significant rain, the river at St. Louis will likely fall to dangerously low levels by the end of December

(via Wikimedia Commons/DEMIS Mapserver/Shannon 1)

Drought-stricken Midwestern states are already squabbling over rights to water in the region's rivers. Now, the fight could be intensified by a new idea for diverting water from the Missouri River to help seven arid states in the West.

(via Flickr/pasa47)

Politicians across the Midwest are continuing to press the President to declare a state of emergency on the Mississippi River to allow barge traffic to keep flowing.

Every year roughly $180 billion worth of freight makes its way up and down the river.

Now, a record shortage of water on the nation’s major inland waterways is expected to put upward pressure on everything from food items to electricity.

The drought effect

(via Flickr/The Confluence)

Updated 3:23 p.m. with statement from McCaskill

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says if the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t increase water flow from the upper Missouri River the next move may be to ask the president to step in.

The Corps began reducing the outflow from a dam in South Dakota on Friday.

That means less water for the already-low Mississippi River, which could lead to restrictions or even a halt on barge traffic by mid-December.

Senator Blunt says transportation down the river could be severely impacted if nothing is done.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Businesses that work and ship on the Mississippi River are seeking a presidential declaration keep water flowing out of reservoirs on the Missouri River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closes dams in South Dakota at this time every year to store water to maintain levels later in the spring and summer.

The Missouri River accounts for roughly 60 percent of the water flowing by St. Louis. In a drought-year like this year, George Foster of St. Louis’ J.B. Marine says reducing river levels would risk closing the shipping channel.

(via Flickr/The Confluence)

Updated 12:29 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the barge industry are imploring the federal government to keep water flowing on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers or face potential "economic disaster."

The drought has left many waterways at historic lows. Nixon sent a letter Friday urging the Army Corps of Engineers to rethink plans to reduce the amount of water released from the Missouri's upstream reservoir. That would also reduce flow on the Mississippi below St. Louis.

(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Photo by Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk)

A Corps of Engineers study says more research and monitoring are needed to reduce the likelihood of damage along the Missouri River in future floods.

The study released Monday focuses on remaining vulnerabilities after the Missouri River rose to record levels last year. The flooding began after the corps released massive amounts of water from upstream reservoirs filled by melting snow and heavy rain.

Most repairs to damaged levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are expected to be finished before next spring. Work on the river's dams expected to take longer.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A state appeals court has upheld the efforts of St. Peters, Mo. to use tax increment financing to build a levee structure along Highway 370 to open the area to re-development.

(Flickr/Brian Hillegas)

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 21, to add comments from South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley. Originally posted Aug. 20.

What does an oil and gas boom in North Dakota have to do with Missouri River reservoirs?

Hydrofracturing – the process that gets new wells up and running – takes lots of water.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were in Alton Friday as part of their annual low-water inspection.

The Corps has stepped up emergency scouring and dredging operations in response to the unprecedented low water levels in the Mississippi River Basin.

Marty Hettle works for the barge operator, AEP.  He says the river forecast is not expected to trend upward any time soon.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his administration is keeping tabs on river levels along the Missouri and Mississippi as drought conditions persist across the state.  He indicates that the Missouri River may be in worse shape.

“I think that the challenges on the Missouri are a little more significant than the Mississippi," Nixon said at a gathering Wednesday in Jefferson City.  "Minnesota has had a fair amount of rain in that part of the country, but we’re watching those issues very carefully.”

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Review your route: I-64 work has begun

Several ramps on the stretch of I-64 that runs through downtown closed for roadwork this morning.

The ramps from 10th Street and 14th Street will be closed around the clock, as will the ramp from Broadway.

Missouri Department of Transportation spokesman Andrew Gates says there will also be ramp closures for motorists heading into downtown.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Farmers and environmentalists faced off at a hearing today in Jefferson City over a water project on the Missouri River west of Boonville.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to build a new chute at Jameson Island designed to protect the pallid sturgeon and other native fish species.  Building it would involve dredging along the Missouri River, and the Corps wants to dump the sediment back into the river.  The move is strongly opposed by farm interests.  Dale Ludwig with the Missouri Soybean Association says up to a million cubic yards of sediment could be dumped into the Missouri River.

(Diana Fredlund/US Army Corps of Engineers)

A new report calls flood management on the Missouri River “outdated” and says it’s putting the public at risk.

The report by the environmental advocacy group American Rivers identifies the Missouri River as one of the ten most endangered in the country.

(via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Jay Woods)

An increase in free space within reservoirs would not have made much of a difference in last year’s record flooding along the Missouri River, according to a report released today by the Army Corps of Engineers.   

Jody Farhat, the Corps’ Chief Water Manager for the Missouri River, says a higher amount of free space would have only reduced last year’s flooding, not prevented it.

“Due to the tremendous volume of water, we still would have had very high record releases from the reservoirs," Farhat said.  "We still would have had a significant flood event in the Missouri basin."

(Photo courtesy of Atchison Co. Emergency Management)

The federal government should pay 100 percent of the cost of flood damage in Missouri – according to some members of the Missouri Senate.   

Normally, the feds pick up the tab for disaster response and later bill the affected state government 25 percent of the cost.  State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says Missouri should not have to pay, since the floods in the Show-Me State were the federal government’s fault.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) and nearly half of Missouri’s congressional delegation are pledging to rebuild levees and pursue policies that will make massive water releases from dams unnecessary in the future.

They addressed this issue at a meeting of Missouri Farm Bureau members at the State Fair in Sedalia today.

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