Here are some interesting facts I learned about the Mississippi River and why it deserves the title Mighty:
*The Mississippi is widest just downstream from its confluence with the Missouri River (near Alton, Il.) where it is nearly 1 mile across.
*At its headwaters, the Mississippi is less than 3 feet deep. The river’s deepest section is between Governor Nicholls Wharf and Algiers Point in New Orleans where it is 200 feet deep.
*The value of the agricultural products and the huge agribusiness industry that has developed in the basin produces 92% of the nation’s agricultural exports, 78% of the world’s exports in feed grains and soybeans, and most of the livestock and hogs produced nationally. Sixty percent of all grain exported from the US is shipped via the Mississippi River through the Port of New Orleans and the Port of South Louisiana. In measure of tonnage, the largest port in the world is located on the Mississippi River at LaPlace, La.
*The Mississippi River Basin or Watershed drains 41% of continental United States. Thirty-one states and 2 Canadian provinces are included in the watershed.
*The Mississippi River and its floodplain are home to a diverse population of living things: at least 260 species of fishes, 25% of all fish species in North America. Forty percent of the nation’s migratory waterfowl use the river corridor during their Spring and Fall migration. Sixty percent of all North American birds (326 species) use the Mississippi River Basin as their migratory flyway.
*To move goods up and down the Mississippi, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a 9-foot shipping channel from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Minneapolis, MN. From Baton Rouge past New Orleans to Head of Passes, a 45 foot channel is maintained to allow ocean-going vessels access to ports as far upstream as Baton Rouge.
*On one gallon of fuel, 1 ton of cargo can be moved 60 miles by truck, 202 miles by rail, and 514 miles by barge. One barge holds as much as 15 jumbo rail hoppers and 58 semi truck trailers. One bargeload of wheat is enough to bake 2.25 million loaves of bread.
All information from the website: Mississippi River Facts
(Given all these facts, isn’t it ironic that some television commentators said it wasn’t worth the money to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina?)