Grafton | St. Louis Public Radio

Grafton

Road crews work to clear the remaining sediment and rocks deposited from flood waters on July 2, 2019. Businesses in the area have reopened since the water receded.
Eric Schmid | St. Louis Public Radio

The Fourth of July will be even more of a celebration in Alton and Grafton this year, as the riverfront communities mark the reopening of businesses following major flooding last month.

May 31, 2019 - The Mississippi River reaches 36 feet, its highest level in Alton since 1993. The river is forecast to rise about three more feet before cresting above the 39-foot mark on June 5, about three feet below the record.
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Yet again in communities along the Mississippi River, residents and business owners are filling sandbags and holding their breath as the water creeps higher.

On Friday, the river was expected to crest in Quincy at just over 31 feet, less than a foot from the historic record set in 1993.

Mayor Kyle Moore said volunteers have helped fill 45,000 sandbags, some of which have gone to neighboring areas. He said while most homes are far above the reach of the river, the longer the water remains high the more damage it could do, including to the city’s water-treatment plant near the river.

May 29, 2019 Workers shore up a temporary levee across Main Street in Grafton. The river had reached 32 feet, on its way to a projected crest of 36.3 feet, which would be the second highest on record and less than two feet below the record set in 1993.
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Towns along the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers have closed levees, evacuated downtowns and started sandbagging to hold rising floodwaters at bay. Weather experts say the communities will see some of the highest flood levels recorded since the Great Flood of '93.

Despite the flooding, some Missouri and Illinois towns remain open along the river — and their mayors said they hope tourism and community support will help their towns recover from the disasters.

The main levee in Winfield failed May 4, 2019, near the Pillsbury grain elevator on Pillsbury Road.
File Photo | Winfield Foley Fire Protection District

Updated: 8:50 p.m. May 5 — with information about flood damage to an Illinois American Water plant.

Floodwaters have continued to rise over the weekend in areas along the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers.

In St. Louis, the Mississippi River had reached nearly 41 feet by 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning — more than 10 feet above flood stage. The National Weather Service predicts the river will crest at 41.6 feet Monday morning.

Kaci Dalton helped residents fill sandbags on Starling Airport Road in Arnold in May 2017.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Civic leaders along the Mississippi River are bracing for near-record flood levels in the coming days and weeks.

Mayors in Missouri and Illinois say federal programs that aim to prevent flood damage need more funding to adequately support river towns that face evacuation and income loss.

Flooding in Alton is expected to crest next week at 35.2 feet, the fifth-highest flood level on record, according to the National Weather Service. The river at Grafton is expected to reach the fourth-highest flood level on record for the city. River levels at both Illinois towns are expected to exceed levees and rise within 10 feet of historic levels reached during the Great Flood of ’93.

Colin Wellenkamp (L) and Rick Eberlin (R) joined host Don Marsh to discuss flooding along the Mississippi River.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Remembrances of the Great Flood of ’93 often focus on St. Louis, but many other cities and towns along the Mississippi River faced consequences.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, the mayors of Grafton, Illinois, and Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, joined host Don Marsh to talk about what their communities are doing 25 years after the big event. Their stories represent differences in the way cities have coped with the threat of flooding.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

Fog added a magical touch to the drive along the Great River Road in Illinois on Sunday. 

For much of the day, the fog held thick over the water at Grafton, the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. By dusk, the blanket had thinned, offering stunning photo ops.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Weather forecasters are predicting slow relief for Missouri and Illinois towns battling floods. 

A number of towns situated along the Mississippi River have been dealing with rising waters over the past few days. The northeast Missouri town of Clarksville is experiencing its sixth flood in the past decade, while roads around Grafton, Illinois, are also under water.

Market for Asian carp maturing in Illinois

Sep 19, 2012
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

When the French explorer Père Marquette traveled down the Illinois River in 1673, his journal tells of encounters with “monstrous fish” so large they nearly overturned his canoe.  

In all likelihood the fish Marquette was talking about were channel catfish, but nearly 340 years later fisherman Josh Havens says it’s bighead carp... and silver carp which now harass boaters on the Illinois (silver carp are the jumpers).

(via Flickr/lsgcp)

Updated 5:04 p.m. with more details.

The tiny riverfront community of Grafton, Ill. has announced plans to build a plant to process Asian carp culled from the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

The plant represents a $5.4 million joint venture between American Heartland Fish in Grafton, Falcon Protein, based in Alabama, and Wuhan Hui Chang Real Estate, a Chinese investment group.

Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson says the new plant will provide a welcome influx of good paying jobs.

Grafton Ferry to resume operation

Jan 26, 2011


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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the Grafton Ferry, recently thought to be closing after 8 years of operation, will be back in operation this spring.

The paper reports that the City Council of Grafton, Ill. has approved the city's purchase of the former Grafton Ferry landing in St. Charles County.

The Great Rivers National Scenic Byway 2008
Courtesy, Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008- The Loading Dock Bar and Grill in Grafton, Ill., is all concrete and steel. Utilities hover above, the walls are really garage doors, and the view brings customers from far and near to sit and sip where the Mississippi and Illinois rivers meet.

It's also a symbol of lessons learned.