Monthly Archives: December 2010

Grafton Ferry Closes, Equipment Sold

The ferry at Grafton, Ill., is going out of business, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Loss of the ferry adds an estimated 40 minutes to the trip to and from St. Charles. The Clark Bridge, which carries U.S. Highway 67 over the Mississippi River at downtown Alton, about 15 miles downstream, provides a direct path to most of the St. Louis region.

The Calhoun Ferry Co., which operates the Golden Eagle and Winfield ferries some distance upstream of Grafton, purchased the Grafton Ferry’s push boat, barge and docks for backup use there, office manager Denise Knight confirmed.

The owners blamed siltation at the confluence of the Illinois and Upper Mississippi rivers. A “chute” normally used by the ferry allowed it to cross the Mississippi in six or seven minutes, but when it silted up, the crossing took 15–25 minutes, and the ferry was losing customers. The company tried to get the Corps of Engineers to clear out the chute, but without success.

Coast Guard Video Contest

The Coast Guard is holding a contest to identify the top CG action videos of the year.

In a year that included major Coast Guard efforts following the Haiti earthquake and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Coast Guard also responded to more than 22,000 search-and-rescue cases and saved more than 4,300 lives.

“Sometimes you get a glimpse of the service in action on T.V., but often you don’t. And with all this activity what better way to tell the Coast Guard story than through video?”

A Coast Guard team has sifted through more than 600 videos from this year to pick the top 11; now they’re asking Internet viewers to pick the top three. You can vote for your favorite videos on YouTube, Facebook or on the Compass blog.

Details of the contest can be found here.

Annual Review Issue

We finished up work last night on the WJ’s Annual Review issue. It’s 84 pages this year; a quick check through our bound volumes reveals that it’s the largest issue we’ve done since 1991.

In addition to our usual menu of year-end materials — highlight photos, Do You Remember, 2010 boat tables, the Annual Review of Waterway Events — the issue features a long story by Paducah writer/photographer Jeff Yates, who spent several days aboard the Coast Guard buoy tender Chippewa on a run down the Ohio River and up the Upper Mississippi River to Chester, Ill. His story and pictures are not to be missed.

Also in the issue is the latest “10 Minutes With…” interview by Tom Gladders. This month, Tom interviewed George Grugett, executive vice president of the Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association, who had a lot to say about the state of water resources today.

All in all, there’s plenty of reading to get you through the holiday!

Profile of barge repair worker

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a profile of a worker at Osage Marine in St. Louis,

Always nice to see the hometown paper paying attention to the barge industry.

But someone, please, tell this reporter to just say “pilot” or “river pilot” instead of “barge pilot.”

Upcoming study of Columbia lock shutdown

A professor at Washington State University plans to do a detailed study of freight movements during the shutdown of locks on the Columbia River.

It should yield information that can help waterways advocates make their case for the necessity and, especially, greenness of barge transportation.

The professor, Ken Casavant, is quoted as saying,  “When that happens, all of those products that we’re dependent on that were by the river all of a sudden have no place to go.” It’s not quite “all of a sudden,” though; shippers and farmers have known for a couple of years that the shutdown was coming.

NRC Releases P&G Critique

The promised review by the National Research Council of the Council on Economic Quality‘s ongoing revision of the Principles & Guidelines (also called Principles & Standards), which the White House wants to function as a broad framework for water policy across all federal agencies, has been released. You can read it here.

Suffice it to say: the NRC’s commentary is tough.

We’ll have a detailed article on it in the upcoming week.