Big River Links from
July-August 2006

July-August 2006 Big River

BIG RIVER Magazine

Mississippi River stories and news

July-August 2006
Follow these links for more information about stories and news in Big River.

Peregrines Return to the Bluffs
Peregrine falcons continue to reclaim ancient nesting sites in three states on the Mississippi River bluffs.

Raptor Resource Project

Excel Energy and Peregrines

Dairyland Power (Click For Our Earth, then Peregrine Falcons)

Blufflands Alliance
A coalition of land trusts that protect bluffland along the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (Illinois)

Natural Land Institute (Illinois)

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

Minnesota Land Trust

Mississippi Valley Conservancy (Wisconsin)

West Wisconsin Land Trust

Gathering Waters Conservancy (Wisconsin)

Friends of the Upper Mississippi River Refuges photo contest

Upper Missisippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge/Winona District

Friends of the Upper Mississippi River Refuges

Nuns on the Right, Cans on the Left: Where the Buoys Are US Coast Guard Aids to Navigation (ATON System)
Letterboxing North America
Bilge Filters CENTEK Industries
Did the Corps Cook the Books? Big River series about the Navigation Study, originally published in 2000 and 2001

July-August River News excerpts and Links

Picking a New Bridge
Quad Cities — The amount of traffic on the I-74 bridge between Moline, Illinois, and Bettendorf, Iowa, exceeded design capacity a long time ago. More than 75,000 vehicles a day pass over the spans. Accidents and breakdowns cause major bottlenecks because the bridge has no shoulders or places to pull off. Planning for its replacement has been going on for some time and in May took another large step forward.

Citizens were given a look at four alternate bridge designs and asked for their input by officials at the Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation, who are jointly developing the project. That input will help lead to a final design selection within the next six months, according to the schedule.

An environmental impact study based on the footprint of the chosen model should be done by June, 2007, and then right-of-way acquisition can begin. All of that should be completed between 2007 and 2010, then, if the local governments have met all the federal criteria, a record of decision will be put in place, which will lead to a request for more than $650 million for the bridge and improvements bluff to bluff in the 2010 federal transportation budget.

The four designs were termed "a basket handle true arch twin bridges, a modified basket handle tied arch twin bridges, a basket handle tied arch twin bridges with vertical piers and hangers, and a cable stayed single bridge with semi-fan stay arrangement." The differences are difficult to describe but can be seen online. To date, the cable stayed single bridge was the most popular. It is similar to the bridge in Burlington, Iowa.

The bridge is an important transportation corridor in the Quad-Cities and one of the most traveled sections of road in that area. The existing bridge is scheduled to be removed after the new one is completed, although one citizen has suggested turning one span into a park with "a path, benches, plants, grasses, observation deck, restaurant and ice cream stand," while another suggested keeping one span to use as a bike path and pedestrian crossing, which might be cheaper than adding those to the new structure.

School on the Cat
Quad Cities — The Channel Cat Water Taxis have combined fun with transportation since 1995. They shuttle more than 37,000 passengers a summer between five docks on both sides of the river. A $5 ticket ($2 for children aged 2 to 10) gets you all-day, unlimited boarding. Riders can get off in one location and resume their journey anytime during the day or evening.

This summer, River Action, Inc., a local nonprofit group that promotes public awareness and connections to the river, will offer a series of classes aboard the taxis from June through the end of August.

On July 6 and 11, and August 22 and 24, participants will get a short course in towboat dangers, lock-and-dam safety, and boating safety.

On July 18 and 20, and August 29 and 31, students will perform hands-on water testing, and learn about watershed practices and their impact on water quality from a state water quality supervisor.

On July 25 and 27, a retired Augustana College professor will tell stories about the Moline lock, the Rock Island Bridge, the Civil War, local city history and the battle of Campbell's Island.

On August 1 and 3, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist will talk about habitat diversity and productivity in a large ecosystem.

Photographers are invited aboard on August 8 and 10 to practice and learn local wildlife photography from a local freelance photographer.

On August 15 and 17, a marine operations chief will talk about the transportation industry while the class watches operations at a barge unloading facility.

Classes cost $10 each and will be held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information, see the River Action web site or call (563) 322-2969.

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