explores the importance of water as a means of transportation, examines
the effects of transforming waterways to fit this use and the effects
navigation itself has on water quality.
you like to get somewhere? You could take a car, a truck, a train,
a plane or maybe even a boat. Major and minor rivers are an important
part of the transportation system, which allows people and goods
to move quickly and efficiently around the country. The Ohio, the
Hudson, the Missouri, and the Mississippi Rivers are some of our
countrys hardest working rivers and they all play an important
role in commercial navigation.
in their natural state are not easy to travel on. Getting rivers
ready to support commercial navigation, required many
. Curves and meanders were cut out to straighten rivers.
Channels were dug and/or deepened to accommodate barges and boats.
To maintain the depth of these channels, wing dams were installed
to direct the waters flow into these channels.
prevent flooding, many rivers were "straightjacketed"
with concrete and levees. While benefiting navigation, many of these
changes negatively affected the natural river system. Water ended
up flooding some areas, but cut off wetlands and zones
from river water.
commercial activity on working rivers can also pose a threat to
- The cargo
hauled by boats and barges ranges from rubber tires to toxic chemicals.
Accidents can spill dangerous chemicals or petroleum products
into water, seriously impairing water quality.
- The volume
of traffic on a working river can also threaten its water quality.
The more boats and barges moving up and down, the greater the
risk of a spill or accident. Theres also more potential
from pollution and dirt the vessels carry with them.
- The increased
traffic increases the rate of , contributing
Market to Market Online Links
Interest Still Divided Over Water Use." This Market to
Market feature looks at the controversy of water rights taking place
in the the western part of the country.
Issues Trouble Rural America." This Market to Market feature
looks at water interests of farming and rural areas. Read about
flooding, drought, hydrologic modification, and more.