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Coast Guard Reopens 420-Mile Stretch Of Missouri River To Boating

Katie Peikes
IPR file
The Missouri River at Sioux City.

The  U.S. Coast Guard has re-opened a portion of the Missouri River to commercial and recreational boat traffic after high waters forced it to close last week.

 The Coast Guard has opened the river from Napoleon, Missouri, to just north of Sioux City – a 420-mile stretch. There are a couple of small stretches of the river in eastern Nebraska where boaters need to operate at the slowest possible speeds because of "ongoing concerns in these areas," according to the Coast Guard.


Some portions of the Missouri River remain at moderate to major flood stage. Officials recommend people avoid boating there.


Last week, the Coast Guard announced the closure of 750 miles of the river to vessel traffic because of high water and drift on the river, saying boats “may cause damage to or overtopping of flood control levees.” Only vessels used to help restore levees and fight flooding were allowed to operate.


The Missouri River at Nebraska City, Nebraska, near Iowa’s southwestern Fremont County, is about two feet undermoderate flood stage of 23 feet. The Missouri River at Napoleon, Missouri, is a little over half a foot above moderate flood stage of 25 feet.

Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.