UMWA water flooding

A relentless Mother Nature has been busy pumping the river systems with a torrential amount of rain that even the great Mother of Waters is having a hard time keeping under control.  

As of July 2, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported the closure of multiple locks and dams in the upper Mississippi River due to water levels that have reached the trigger closure elevation. Temporary closures include Locks and Dams 12, 14, 16 and 17.  

Officials warn that these river levels are constantly changing and that those utilizing the river should be prepared for incoming closures that could last several weeks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports closures are likely at Locks 11, 13, 15, 18, 20 and 22. Once the locks close, the reopening dates also have the potential to be delayed by general cleanup and debris removal due to floodwaters. 

“The Mississippi River peak elevations have likely come and gone through the Winona area July 2,” said Dan Fasching, civil engineer for the St. Paul District of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “This event was largely driven by high precipitation and resulted in major flooding on the Minnesota River basin, with moderate contributions from the other key tributaries. As a result, Locks and Dams 2 and 3 experienced the highest peaks, relatively for their section of river, with Lock and Dam 2 surpassing the peak elevations experienced last spring by about a foot. Locks and Dams 1 and 3 closed to commercial navigation briefly on June 28 through July 2. Lock and Dam 4 and downstream the river will remain elevated likely through July 9, based on current National Weather Service forecasts.” 

Upper Mississippi Waterway Association (UMWA) President Jeremy Putman says the impact has spread to multiple industries along the river system.    

“Closure of locks and dams on the upper Mississippi River due to high water disrupts commerce, impacting industries from agriculture to manufacturing,” Putnam said. “The financial toll costs millions each flood, but it highlights the river’s economic significance and the need for resilient infrastructure.” 

Putman notes high waters will also likely force several rail bridges to close to navigation as well. Among the impacted industries that utilize the river is recreation. Riverboat Twilight, which docks in Le Claire, IA and offers overnight cruises along the Mississippi River, has had to cancel all two-day overnight cruises for this week through July 5. 

“Our focus now is to guide our passengers through refunds and alternative plans. While we have certainly felt the effects of the flooding, our hearts are with those who have lost their homes, lands, jobs and more during this time,” said Carrie Stier, owner of Riverboat Twilight. “We have all been affected in different, but no less impactful ways. The river will fall and we will persevere. There is still a lot of season left.” 

You can stay up to date with the latest Lock & Dam closures here: