Commercial and industrial maritime operationsbrawny, demanding, and usually dangerous to those untutored in nautical transport-are isolated for everyone’s safety.
I have been very privileged to gain access to these areas and experience life and work on the rivers:
to see first-hand the activity and the work in all its various forms and to see the dangerous nature of much of it, and also its beauty.
The paintings that comprise the Rivers exhibition carry viewers to the very ba n ks of Last Light, Ohio River,
Mile Post 174, watercolor and mixed media on board,
24 x 32 inches The first time I rode a working vessel on a river,
I was honored to join the crew of MVMountain State, a merchant vessel owned and operated by AEP River Operations.
We p ushed coal barges on the Ohio River between Metropolis, Illinois, and the AEP power plant in southeast Indiana.
The coal had been mined in the Powder River Basin of southwest Wyoming, loaded into rail cars and railed in unit trains to Metropolis,
where it was loaded into 15 barges.
Each barge holds the equivalent tonnage of about 54 tractor trailer trucks.
A 15-barge tow, therefore, holds the equivalent of more than 800 truckloads. Imagine the wear and tear that a single tow saves on our roads. Last Light shows us pushing downstream at sunset.
Such beauty! America’s greatest waterways and beyond, into the shipyards, omo the docks, aboard the ships, and out on the swift, broad currents.
The great task of maintaining navigable channels on the inland waters is the job of the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast G uard,
each with its own responsibilities.
The Corps began the work of maintaining a usable depth in 1829, when it started removing snags, closing off secondary channels, and excavating rocks and sandbars.
The Rivers and H arbors Act of 1930 authorized a nine-foot channel depth and 400-foot width to accommodate multiple barge tows.
The Corps built numerous locks and dams on all of our major rivers in addition to the few already working.
Each lock and dam creates a pool upstream of it, and the resulting lakes are used for recreational boating and fishing.
The dams make the rivers deeper and wider but do not stop the flow.
During periods of high flow, the gates are opened completely and the dams cease to function.
Below St. Louis, the Mississippi is relatively free-flowing, although it is constrained by numerous levees and directed by multiple wing dams.
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