Mississippi River Flooding and a Presidential Visit

by Anna Waugh, Project Manager and Volunteer Coordinator

It’s a historic week on the Mississippi River. The epic flooding on the Mississippi River has put most of Saint Paul’s floodplain parks under water and closed Harriet Island, Lilydale Park, Crosby and Hidden Falls. The floodwaters have even covered the Nice Ride station at Fort Snelling State Park's Visitor Center!

Photo Courtesy of Charles Robinson and Nice Ride MN

According to the National Weather Service’s hydrograph, the river will crest tonight at 20.2 feet. Flood stage is anything above 14 feet and is considered in major flood stage at heights above 17 feet. The river is high and dangerous. Small craft are urged to stay off the water.

Because of all of the flooding we’ve moved a lot of our programming upstream and to the top of the bluffs. June 27th's River City Revue, featuring guided tours by artist Andy Sturdevant, will move to the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. June 28th's pontoon boat River Action Volunteer Event will now take place on bikes instead and start from the Boy Scout’s Base Camp in Bloomington.

The river is at its highest point since 1993. It has even dredged up some unusual creatures like this prehistoric clam shell that was seen floating past the Padleford Riverboats this morning!*

As if flooding weren’t exciting enough, President Obama is also in town today conducting a town hall meeting at Minnehaha Falls. The last time a president visited the Falls was Lyndon Johnson almost 50 years ago. When Johnson visited the falls, the City of Minneapolis had to open fire hydrants along Minnehaha Creek to supplement the fall’s natural flow because the city was in drought. That certainly won’t be an issue this time.

Photo Courtesy of MN Historical Society
*Not actually a prehistoric clam, just a play structure from Harriet Island’s playground.