Big River Magazine
Explore the Upper Mississippi

March-April 2015

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Read stories from past issues of Big River

When Big Mama Ruled the Rivers - the Sprague (pdf) Jan-Feb 2015

Bringing an Old Boat Back to Life Carl Henry (pdf) Jan-Feb 2015

Outdoor Dreams Come True - North American Squirrel Association (pdf) Nov-Dec 2014

River Pilgrims (pdf) by Anna Segner, from Nov-Dec 2014

Kickapoo Valley Reserve Ice Caves (pdf) by Joan Kent, from Jan-Feb 2014

Turtle Dogs (pdf) by Pamela Eyden, from July-Aug 2010

Cardinal flowers on the Mississippi (pdf) by John Sullivan

Mapping Time and the River (pdf) by Ryan Johnson, from March-April 2014

Download Army Corps 2011 Navigation Charts

Essay Only the River is Real, by Vincent Kavaloski, from March-April 2014

Dreaming of a trip down the river? Read about boaters taking a voyage of a lifetime down the Mississippi on River Trips.

Sand Dollars Mining Frac Sand in the River Valley (pdf) Some of the best sand for fracture drilling is found in the exposed rocky bluffs along the Upper Mississippi. From July-August 2011 Big River.

Strip Mining the Upper Mississippi (pdf) Aerial views of sand mines. From July-August 2013 Big River.

Live River Links

Weather forecast for Upper Mississippi cities

River levels on the Upper Mississippi

Towboat-watching resource: Boats in pools and queued in locks.

Dreaming of a trip down the river? Read about boaters taking a voyage of a lifetime down the Mississippi on River Trips.

Upper Mississippi River Blogs

Big River Carp T-shirt
Order Here!

Covering the Heart of the Driftless Area for 22 Years

Current Issue
March-April 2015

Sex Life of Floodplain Trees

By Pamela Eyden

Silver maples are the first to bloom in the bottomland forests of the Upper Mississippi River.

Female silver maple flowers. (Hugh Angus)


Male cottonwood catkins grow long, open and let pollen fly on the breeze, which carries it to the yellow female catkins. They then swell with seed and burst open, casting seeds embedded in white cotton that float on the breeze.

Male cottonwood catkins. (Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service)

Read the whole story in March-April Big River. Buy now

Call 507-454-5949 for info on digital subscriptions

Big Changes at St. Anthony Falls

Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock with a Tainter gate below the upstream lock gate. (Army Corps)

St. Anthony Falls, in downtown Minneapolis, is getting a lot of attention, as groups anticipate how closing the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock will affect the river and the bustling neighborhoods there.
Congress told the Army Corps of Engineers to close the lock on Upper St. Anthony Falls (USAF) by June 10, to block invasive Asian carp from migrating through the lock and reaching the countless rivers and lakes in northern Minnesota. Closing the lock puts a 49-foot waterfall between the carp and the waters of northern Minnesota.

On February 25th, Corps announced that it will reopen the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock for short period this spring.

The closing of the lock on June 10th raises questions:

• Should the Lower St. Anthony Falls (LSAF) Lock, only a half mile downstream, remain in operation to serve a very small pool?
• What will be done with the Corps’ property, which overlooks the falls near the heart of downtown Minneapolis?
• How will paddlers and other boaters portage around the closed lock?
• How will the closure affect the development of parks, trails and property in some of the most intensely developed and rapidly changing neighborhoods of the metropolitan area?

Read the whole story in March-April Big River. Buy now

Call 507-454-5949 for info on digital subscriptions.

Carp Catch 22

You may have to drive a long way these days to find a tasty chunk of smoked carp, fresh buffalo or other local river fish, and the drive is getting longer.

A spokesperson from Monterey Bay Seafood Watch explained they hadn’t approved wild carp from the Mississippi River because they haven’t assessed it. They do assessments based on market demand and availability, and so far, wild carp hasn’t come across their marketing radar.

For More Reading:

Greenpeace - How Sustainable is your Supermarket's Seafood?

Greenpeace - Carting Away the Ocean
2014 Rankings of Seafood Sustainability in U.S. Supermarkets

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Criteria for Fisheries

FDA "Procedures for the Safe and Sanitary Processing and Importing of Fish and Fishery Products" Regulations. Questions and answers.

Buy this issue now

Call 507-454-5949 for info on digital subscriptions

Big River Poetry Contest

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Back Issues

Quick Links

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See more on the Highlights page

Other March-April website links

To follow bird migration: Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdCast site.


Jan-Feb website links


Report Shows Violation of Regulations Common Practice for Frac Sand Industry

Marty Kittrell's blog on the Sprague

Minnesota Dugout Canoe Project

Contact Big River

Contact Info

Subscriptions and renewals

Change of Address

Back Issues

Books and Products

Deck on Deck: Towboating in the Twin Cities by Capt. Bob Deck

What's it like to work on a towboat? Deck on Deck is a first-hand account of life on river towboats in the 1970s and 80s. These stories will entertain you as Bob Deck recalls his days as a deckhand on the Mississippi River.


Read More from Big River

Big River Travel Map
Dozens of scenic Mississippi overlooks and places to go.

Read Stories
about the Upper Mississippi River from past issues of Big River Magazine.

See complete issues from 2006 and 2007 online (PDFs). Select issues here

Volunteer groups on the river - a nine-part series about non-profit groups making a difference on the Upper Mississippi

Check the weather forecast and river levels for Upper Mississippi River cities.

More on overlooks

River organizations

Links to Upper Mississippi Resources

Take a look back at our April Foolishness river stories.


Advertising Rates

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Troubled Waters 30 Years in the River Business by Jack Lambert For sale in the Big River Bookstore. Listen to Jack's July 1st talk with Tommy Mischke on The Nite Show - Mischke Til Midnite,WCCO NewsRadio online.

Mississippi River guidebooks

Driftless Area, Lansing to LeClaire, Iowa, and Quad Cities Travel Guides by Dean Klinkenberg. More info and ordering info.