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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/137

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LEGISLATION OX THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER

RECENT LEGISLATION ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
By ROBERT MARSHALL BROWN

WORCESTER, MASS.

THE new River and Harbor Bill is of particular interest in the portion pertaining to the Mississippi River. For over twenty years levee construction and maintenance has been the dominant feature of the river's regulation. During nearly half that time a concerted effort has been made to maintain a navigable channel when the river is at a low stage. There are indications that the catchword for the years to come will have reference to a 14-foot waterway from the lakes to the gulf. In the original act[1] three lines of procedure, one a continuation of former projects, the other two in some wise new projects, were advocated. Briefly, these are as follows:

1. An appropriation for the general improvement of the river, for the extension of the levee system and for the improvement of navigation. This includes the maintenance of a navigable channel of at least 200 feet in width and 9 feet in depth from Cairo to the Gulf.

2. An appropriation for the improvement of the river from the mouth of the Ohio River to the mouth of the Missouri River. This appropriation is a reduction of the sum appropriated in the last River and Harbor Bill.

3. The appointment of a board to report upon the practicability and desirability of constructing a navigable channel 1-i feet deep and of suitable width from St. Louis to the Gulf, either by improvement of the river or by a canal or canals for a part of the route.

The first of these continues the work under the control of the Mississippi River Commission, a board created in 1879. This board has defined the law which created them in the following general terms.[2]

1. Continuation of surveys; preparation and publication of maps, maintenance of gauges; the recording, tabulating and publication of gauge readings the taking and recording of discharge measurements at high and low stages of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and other observations.
2. The building, extension and repair of levees.
3. The building, maintenance and operation of dredge boats.
4. The repair and extension of existing works for the improvement of the channel, the preservation of harbors, the prevention of cut-offs, and the security of levees.
5. The maintenance of a low-water channel between the Mississippi, Red and Atchafalaya Rivers.


  1. H. R. 24991. An act making appropriations for the construction, repair and preservation of certain public works on rivers and harbors and for other purposes.
  2. Report of the Mississippi River Commission for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1906, p. 2470.