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Is Missouri River navigation worth the cost?

Presentation by Brad Walker, Rivers Director for Mo. Coalition for the Environment

Brad Walker will explore the public benefit of the Inland Waterway System, reveal what has been its environmental impact, and finally compare these costs and benefits of barge transport with its major competitor– rail.

barge and kayak

A kayaker stays out of the navigation channel as the Mary Lynn, a long-haul tow, moves freight upstream near Rocheport. photo copyright by Hannah Hemmelgarn

Time and Place

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
7:00 pm

Les Bourgeois Vineyards Bistro
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Presentation by Brad Walker, Mo. Coalition for the Environment

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

If you intend on coming early to purchase an amazing dinner at Les Bourgeois Bistro before the presentation, PLEASE call to make a reservation at: 573-698-2300 and…tell them you are with the Big Muddy Speaker Series!

Presentation is FREE and open to the public!

The management and engineering of the Missouri River, and the entire Inland Waterway System (IWS) it is a part of (of which the largest part is in the Mississippi River watershed), is driven in large part by the needs of the navigation industry.This has real effects on the ecology and hydrology of the river and the on the communities that live along it. And large public costs for infrastructure maintenance and upgrading.

For the Missouri, river flows are managed through the system of dams and reservoirs to boost late summer flows, and lower river itself has been engineered and armored to maintain a 300 foot-wide and 9 feet deep navigation channel.


A comparison of the infrastructure costs paid by the railroad and river navigation industry.
Provided by Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Brad Walker, Big Rivers Director of the Mo. Coalition for the Environment, will explore the public benefit of the IWS, reveal what has been the environmental impact of the IWS, and finally compare these costs and benefits of barge transport with its major competitor– rail.

Prior to his work in the conservation and environmental sector Brad Walker worked for over 20 years in the construction industry, primarily performing construction management for large wastewater treatment plants in the western US. He then spent two years in Jamaica in the U.S. Peace Corps. For the last nine years he has worked on river issues on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Brad has a B.S in Civil Engineering and a M.A. in Geography.


  • 14020 W. Hwy BB, Rocheport, MO
  • Take I-70 to the Rocheport, MO, exit (Exit #115). It’s the first exit east of the Missouri River.
  • Head north toward Rocheport.
  • After about a mile, turn left at the sign for Les Bourgeois Bistro. Follow the signs to the Bistro. You will probably need to park in the lot above the Bistro and walk the trail down.
  • The presentations are held in upstairs in the restaurant. The restaurant is no longer open on Tuesdays but the bar is! You are welcome to bring your own food or snacks.

Resources and Links

Dig deeper for more info on this topic

Some related articles from Brad Walker’s River Blog

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The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport

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Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Kansas City and St. Charles.

The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Columbia Ecological Services Field Office (USFWS) and the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.