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In 1988, the water level of the Mississippi fell to 10 feet (3.0 m) below zero on the Memphis gauge. Some experts blame urban sprawl for increases in both the risk and frequency of flooding on the Mississippi River. At that point in time, the Mississippi flowed down this course. It is common to qualify a regionally superlative landmark in relation to it, such as "the highest peak east of the Mississippi"[20] or "the oldest city west of the Mississippi". When he found the Chicago Portage, he remarked that a canal of "only half a league" (less than 2 miles or 3 kilometers) would join the Mississippi and the Great Lakes. But here's an experiment you can do in your own home to see how much water flows down the Mississippi River each second. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The following graph shows the average yearly flow rates of the Mississippi River over a 30 year … With this treaty, which ended the American Revolutionary War, Britain also ceded West Florida back to Spain to regain the Bahamas, which Spain had occupied during the war. The Mississippi was completely changed by the steamboat era as it transformed into a flourishing tourist trade.[83]. This process has, over the past 5,000 years, caused the coastline of south Louisiana to advance toward the Gulf from 15 to 50 miles (24 to 80 km). They have spread throughout much of the basin, even approaching (but not yet invading) the Great Lakes. Considering the river level earlier this year, it marked a precipitous rise: On the first day of the year, the river was at –4.4 feet downtown, within 2 feet of the historic low. The Mississippi River has the world's fourth-largest drainage basin ("watershed" or "catchment"). That is when the river's going to jump its banks and try to break through."[99]. 2019: Dec 28, 2018 through Aug 10 2019: The longest known flood of record on the lower Mississippi River! Failure of the Old River Control Structure, the Morganza Spillway, or nearby levees would likely re-route the main channel of the Mississippi through Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin and down the Atchafalaya River to reach the Gulf of Mexico south of Morgan City in southern Louisiana. Steamers worked the entire route from the trickles of Montana, to the Ohio River; down the Missouri and Tennessee, to the main channel of the Mississippi. Before the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the Corps's primary strategy was to close off as many side channels as possible to increase the flow in the main river. [78] In 1848, the continental divide separating the waters of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley was breached by the Illinois and Michigan canal via the Chicago River. Taken as a whole, these 43 dams significantly shape the geography and influence the ecology of the upper river. The graphics below will provide up-to-date river levels and forecasts for the main stem of the Mississippi River. [100] Diversion of the Mississippi's main channel through Lake Pontchartrain would have consequences similar to an Atchafalaya diversion, but to a lesser extent, since the present river channel would remain in use past Baton Rouge and into the New Orleans area. The Hennepin Canal roughly follows the ancient channel of the Mississippi downstream from Rock Island to Hennepin, Illinois. U.S. government scientists determined in the 1950s that the Mississippi River was starting to switch to the Atchafalaya River channel because of its much steeper path to the Gulf of Mexico. The soil in areas such as Louisiana was thereafter found to be very rich.[63]. Below is a general overview of selected Mississippi bridges that have notable engineering or landmark significance, with their cities or locations. The arrival of Europeans in the 16th century changed the native way of life as first explorers, then settlers, ventured into the basin in increasing numbers. The Mississippi and its tributaries pick up about 200 million tons of sediment from the continental US and dump it into the Gulf of Mexico, every year. - Lake Itasca, a small glacial lake located in southeastern Clearwater County of the US state of Minnesota, is from where the Mississippi River originates. A major focus of this work has been to prevent the lower Mississippi from shifting into the channel of the Atchafalaya River and bypassing New Orleans. Rainfall maps for the Mississippi river basin show south eastern areas receive higher rainfall than … In effect, the U.S. ceded the northwestern extremity of the Mississippi basin to the British in exchange for the southern portion of the Red River basin. Other major tributaries of the Upper Mississippi include the Crow River in Minnesota, the Chippewa River in Wisconsin, the Maquoketa River and the Wapsipinicon River in Iowa, and the Illinois River in Illinois. [71] After the expeditions by Giacomo Beltrami and Henry Schoolcraft, the longest stream above the juncture of the Crow Wing River and Gichi-ziibi was named "Mississippi River". 2, near Hastings, Minnesota, was completed in 1930. From its confluence with the St. Croix River downstream to Dubuque, Iowa, the river is entrenched, with high bedrock bluffs lying on either side. [citation needed], At its source at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River is about 3 feet (0.91 m) deep. The area of the Mississippi River basin was first settled by hunting and gathering Native American peoples and is considered one of the few independent centers of plant domestication in human history. The reduction in sediment transported down the Mississippi River is the result of engineering modification of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers and their tributaries by dams, meander cutoffs, river-training structures, and bank revetments and soil erosion control programs in the areas drained by them.[38]. He referred to his voyage as a promenade that was once a journey on the Mississippi. The Amazon for comparison drains about 7.1 million square kilometers (2.7 million square miles). 5. Fresh river water flowing from the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico does not mix into the salt water immediately. Steamboat captains of the day, fearful of competition from the railroads, considered the new bridge a hazard to navigation. From St. Louis to the Ohio River confluence, the Middle Mississippi falls 220 feet (67 m) over 180 miles (290 km) for an average rate of 1.2 feet per mile (23 cm/km). But when the Lafourche subdelta grew, the sea-level rise rate was 0.6 millimeters per year. The dams, which were built beginning in the 1880s, stored spring run-off which was released during low water to help maintain channel depth. Find out more about our wildlife. Many of the communities along the Mississippi River are listed below; most have either historic significance or cultural lore connecting them to the river. [23], The Upper Mississippi has a number of natural and artificial lakes, with its widest point being Lake Winnibigoshish, near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, over 11 miles (18 km) across. The Mississippi is the chief river of the United States, rising in the lake region of northern Minnesota and flowing about 2,350 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico. At the headwaters of the Mississippi, the average surface speed of the water is about 1.2 miles per hour - roughly one-half as fast as people walk. The lifestyle gradually became more settled after around 1000 BC during what is now called the Woodland period, with increasing evidence of shelter construction, pottery, weaving and other practices. Between Saint Louis, Missouri, where the Missouri River joins and Cairo, Illinois, the depth averages 30 feet (9 m). The Old River Control Structure, between the present Mississippi River channel and the Atchafalaya Basin, sits at the normal water elevation and is ordinarily used to divert 30% of the Mississippi's flow to the Atchafalaya River. The 1927 flood proved this to be so wrong that communities threatened by the flood began to create their own levee breaks to relieve the force of the rising river. The Mississippi River is one of the largest, most powerful rivers in the world. Saint Paul, MN It spanned the river in Minneapolis where the current Hennepin Avenue Bridge is located. The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. The Des Moines Rapids were about 11 miles (18 km) long and just above the mouth of the Des Moines River at Keokuk, Iowa. 100 lieues françoises [= 0m. [93] While the risk of such a diversion is present during any major flood event, such a change has so far been prevented by active human intervention involving the construction, maintenance, and operation of various levees, spillways, and other control structures by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After flowing into Cass Lake, the name of the river changes to Gaa-miskwaawaakokaag-ziibi (Red Cedar River) and then out of Lake Winnibigoshish as Wiinibiigoonzhish-ziibi (Miserable Wretched Dirty Water River), Gichi-ziibi (Big River) after the confluence with the Leech Lake River, then finally as Misi-ziibi (Great River) after the confluence with the Crow Wing River. , such as Louisiana was thereafter found to be very rich. [ 63 ] system of the River... Of … it 's just over 3 feet above flood stage, which ruled in favor of the Immaculate.. Who named it Ne Tongo ( `` watershed '' or `` catchment '' ) averages feet... Upper Midwest and dams were built on the Mississippi 's main channel into the Gulf of Mexico does mix! Responsibility of the Mississippi was treacherous, unpredictable and to make traveling worse, Mississippi! 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