The Missouri River During the Lewis & Clark Expedition - Matson, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 35.044 W 090° 49.193
15S E 689890 N 4272875
Between the Katy Trail State Park and the Missouri River just south of Matson.
Waymark Code: WMNYEV
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 05/24/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member MountainWoods
Views: 2

County of marker: St. Charles County
Location of marker: Katy Trail State Park & MO 94, N. edge of Klondike Park, near Matson
Marker erected: 2000
Marker erected by: Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Marker text:

The Missouri River During the Lewis & Clark (Corps of Discovery) Expedition
The Missouri River you see before you is not the same river that Lewis and Clark experienced on their journey. For Lewis and Clark, the river was filled with islands, side channels flowing around the islands, quiet backwaters and marshes, as well as, the main channel. This wide shallow river allowed the Corps of Discovery to wade the river and pull their boats upstream during parts of their journey. Today the river has a very swift nine feet deep & 1000 wide navigation channel, which is roughly half the width it used to be before it was channelized.

For Lewis and Clark the floodplain of the Missouri River was a mixture of grasslands, forests and wetlands. The river experienced two general periods of high water both in the spring. These natural spring rises often flooded nearby land. The flood waters deposited sediments rich in organic matter. This made very productive plant communities along the river, particularly marshes that produced huge quantities of important food supplies for fish and other wildlife. Today dams and levees control most of the flooding and the rich soil is very productive agricultural lands for Missouri farmers.

Below is a historic time line of the changes to the Missouri River.
1804-1806   First formal exploration of the Missouri River made by Lewis and Clark.
1838      Removal of snags in the river to promote steamboat traffic.
1867      The first government survey of the Missouri River made by Charles Howell.
1882-1902   Congress appropriated $8 million for channel improvements. This resulted in the construction of a 5.5
      foot deep navigation channel for the first 44 miles of the river upstream from the mouth to Augusta,
      just upstream from Klondike Park.
1933      Construction of the first major dam, Fort Peck, on the Missouri River near Montana.
1944      The Flood Control Act required a basin-wide plan, known as the Pick-Slone Plan. The Major results of
      this plan was the construction of an additional six dams on the Missouri River.
1945      The River and Harbors Act established the dimension of the present navigation channel, which is 9 feet
      deep and 30 feet wide. The Act also required the navigation channel to be extended to Souix City, Iowa.

In addition to the floodplain, Lewis and Clark also saw upland areas bordering the Missouri River. Many of these were recognized by rock bluffs on the river's banks. Some historians believe that within a couple of miles downstream, across the river (on the St. Louis County bank), is the location of the famous incident where Captain Lewis almost fell off a river bluff during the first few days of the Corps of Discovery journey. Today, the top of river bluffs are often valued as building sites as they offer protection from floods and provide scenic views of the river valley. Klondike Park has a scenic overlook located atop the river bluffs which provide great views of the Missouri River Valley.

Lewis and Clark were primarily seeking passage to the Pacific Ocean, but they also saw the value of the river as a means of transportation into the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. During a time when there were no railroads, airplanes or automobiles, the horse provided the most common means of transportation. If available, rivers and waterways wee considered a fast and easy alternative way for transporting individuals and goods. Today most industries use trucks, railroads and airplanes to ship their goods, however, some industries still use rivers as a means to transport commodities. For example, midwest grain is shipped down the Missouri River by barge and some electric generating plants, like the Labadie Power Plant across the river can receive coal transported by barges.

History of Mark:
Included above

Web link: Not listed

Additional point: Not Listed

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