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Are the parks flooded?

Anyone who has spent any time recreating on or along the Mississippi River knows the river is prone to flooding.  Fairly regularly, the river experiences spring flooding from snow melt and rains falling in the upper portions of the river valley.  From time to time, the river will even flood in the summer months, due to unusually heavy downpours on already saturated land.

When the river floods, some of the recreation areas that have been developed along its banks also flood.  Sometimes to a great degree, but more often than not it floods the recreation areas causing minor affects and partial closures of facilities and campsites.  The question that many visitors will ask of the ranger staffs in the field during these flood periods will be “is the park flooded”?  Also, people want to know how long a park will be closed or affected by flood waters.  While it is never possible to predict the exact behavior of floods and their affect on our parks, we are providing the following information as a guide for our customers to reference during these times in question.  This information is based on past performances during floods, and accurate record keeping on the flood’s affects.

In this age of the internet, access to information about the river levels in a particular stretch of the river is very easy to come by.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has several websites that will allow you to check the river level status in your favorite stretch of the river.  The best website for checking river levels is www.rivergages.com.  When you access this website, use the drop down menu and choose Rock Island District, then use the next drop down and click Mississippi River & Passes. All of the river gauges will be listed for you to choose from.

In the information provided below, we will give you details on river levels, past floods and their affects on each recreation area, and record flood levels documented in each area.   Each recreation area will be referenced against the most appropriate river gauge from this internet site.  For instance, to find out the river level that will affect the Thomson Causeway Recreation Area in Pool 13, you will be referenced to look at the Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 13 (Pool) river gauge to see what the river level is on that particular day.  It is also very valuable to look at the river levels further upstream of your favorite location on the river as well.  If those areas upstream are still experiencing a river rise, you can guarantee that the river in your favorite area will also be on the rise.

In the table below, Minor Flood means that part of the park is affected, but the entire area is not closed.  Major Flood means that a large part of the recreation will be affected by the flood waters, and Park Closed is the level when we usually have to close the gates and let nature take its course.  The public is usually not allowed into the areas then for obvious safety reasons.

For ease of reference, we will start at the upper end of our project, and travel southward along the river as we do in the information provided about each recreation area.

Recreation Area

River Gages Website
Gauge

NOAA Website
Gauge

Minor Flood

Major Flood

Park Closed

Record Level

Grant River

MR at L/D 11 (Pool)

 

16.7’

 

18.2’

23.74’

Blanding Landing

MR at L/D 11 (Met)

 

14.0’

17.0’

24.0’

23.74’

Pleasant Creek

MR at L/D 12 (Met)

 

11.0’

 

14.2’

23.74’

Big Slough

MR at L/D 13 (Pool)

 

16.0’

18.0’

19.5’

23.86’

Thomson Causeway

MR at L/D 13 (Pool)

 

15.0’

16.7’

16.9’

23.86’

Bulger’s Hollow

MR at L/D 13 (Pool)

 

14.7’

15.5’

16.5’

23.86’

Lock 13

MR at L/D 13 (Pool)

 

14.9’

16.0’

16.3’

23.86’

Cattail Slough

MR at L/D 13 (Met)

 

12.0’

12.5’

12.5’

21.98’

Fisherman’s Corner

MR at L/D 14 (Pool)

 

17.0’

19.0’

20.0’

21.98’

Andalusia Slough

MR at L/D 16 (Met)

MR at Illinois City

14.8’

16.5’

17.0’

23.20’

Clark’s Ferry

MR at L/D 16 (Met)

MR at Illinois City

14.0’

17.0’

18.0’

23.20’

Shady Creek

MR at L/D 16 (Met)

MR at Illinois City

12.9’

14.4’

17.0’

23.20’

Blanchard Island

MR at Muscatine, IA

MR at Muscatine

 

 

13.4’

 

Kilpeck

MR at Muscatine, IA

MR at Muscatine

 

 

14.3’

 

Ferry Landing

MR at L/D 17 (Met)

MR at New Boston

 

 

13.5’

 

Fenway Landing

MR at L/D 21 (Met)

 

16.0’

 

17.0’

32.19’

Bear Creek

MR at L/D 21 (Met)

 

16.0’

 

17.0’

32.19’

Canton Chute

MR at L/D 21 (Met)

 

16.0’

 

16.5’

32.19’

John Hay

MR at L/D 21 (Met)

 

15.0’ (South)

 

19.0’

32.19’



MR at L/D 21 (Met)

 

16.0’ (North)

 

 

 

Park-n-Fish

MR at L/D 21 (Met)

 

Land side of levee not affected, river side of levee limited at 13.0’

Lock 22

MR at L/D 21 (Met)

 

17.0’

 

19.0’

32.10’

For moderate flooding, most recreation areas will need up to two weeks of good weather once the water levels drop back below the “minor flooding” levels for each park in order for them to be brought back into shape to allow visitors safely into the areas.  Electrical systems and water systems are the biggest safety concern for making that determination.  Once these systems are tested and serviceable, then we will not be far behind in getting the parks spruced up and back in usable condition.  For major flooding, more time may be needed to make the affected repairs.

As always, if there are still questions about your favorite recreation area and the affect any flooding has had on it, don’t hesitate to call the ranger stations or visitor center listed in the front of this publication for an update.