Coast Guard expands high-water closures on Upper Mississippi

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(ST. LOUIS, Mo.) — The Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and industry stakeholders have closed the Mississippi River from Alton, Ill., at mile marker 200.5, north to Gladstone, Ill., at mile marker 410.4 due to extremely high water levels and fast-moving currents Saturday.

The river closure will help mitigate damage to residential areas and the overtopping of levees until conditions improve.

“Safety of people, property, and environment is paramount,” said Capt. Scott Stoermer, commander of Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River. “The Coast Guard continues to monitor, communicate conditions, and prepare to respond during this extended high-water period. We ask for the public to be vigilant and heed all warnings in the riverine environment.”

Vessel operators may request permission to move within the closure zone. Vessel movements will be limited to monitoring waterway conditions and enhancing waterway safety. In order for vessels to move within the closure zone, operators must obtain permission from the captain of the port representative at the Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River command center, via VHF Channel 16 or (314) 269-2332 at least 30 minutes prior to movement. The captain of the port will review each request on a case-by-case basis.

The U.S. Coast Guard captain of the port determines when to issue a river closure by following a waterways action plan, which provides the marine industry, Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state and local governments with a coordinated plan for facilitating the safe and orderly movement of traffic during extreme conditions on the inland rivers.

Restrictions to operations will be lifted as soon as conditions improve.

By Professional Mariner Staff