Boating is currently not being recommended on the Mississippi River along the entire eastern border of Iowa due to flooding.
High water has not only resulted in a large amount of debris in the water, but is also posing a problem with flooded cabins along the river from boat wakes.
“A lot of boaters are probably unaware that they can be liable for damages their boats may cause on flooded structures. A boat wake is essentially an extension of the boat,” said DNR Conservation Officer Burt Walters.
Walters said access is also a major issue with an estimated 95 percent of the boat ramps under water along Iowa’s border.
Heavy rainfall has created a much stronger than normal current and deposited large amounts of debris into the river creating unsafe boating conditions. Swimming, wading or entering the Mississippi River during these high river stages is highly discouraged. If you must recreate on or near the Mississippi River, ensure personal floatation devices (life jackets) are worn at all times. There is more to the dangers than the debris floating on the water that can be seen. Much of it lies just under the surface or is mixed in with the water from what was flooded upstream.
Because of the heavy rain locally, as well as farther to the north, the projections are for the Mississippi River to continue to rise over the next several days.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed Lock and Dam 17 near New Boston, Ill., on Friday and closed Lock and Dam 16 at Muscatine on Monday. Both of these structures are closed to both commercial and recreational boat traffic.
For more information, contact Kevin Baskins, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, at 515-281-8395.