A Tale of Two Rivers

The Mississippi River winds its way from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico over a course of 2,320 miles. Observing this river once, or examining a chart, does not allow one to appreciate the river’s different ways of reacting to floods or droughts. The author describes navigating the Mississippi in towing vessels at four different combinations of location and water level: low water above Natchez (Mississippi), low water below Natchez, high water above Natchez, and high water below Natchez. Towing industry stakeholders have many different mitigation strategies for dealing with difficult situations. First and foremost, they work with the U.S. Coast Guard, other regulatory agencies, and industry groups to craft waterway action plans from experience and insight. Tow size restrictions are another method of reducing risk. Information sharing is another hallmark of the inland towing industry. Self-help, such as providing boats at bridges and locks, is another industry hallmark of cooperation and mutual care. In all, the Mississippi is a single river with multiple personalities. From day to day and river stage to river stage, the river shows different sides of itself, requiring different sets of skills to tame it. One lesson from the river is that there is always something else to learn.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01689536
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 5 2018 11:27AM