The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is warning it is unsafe to go swimming, wading or boating on the Mississippi River along the entire eastern border of the state.
High water from recent heavy rain has put about 95 percent of all boat ramps under water along the Mississippi River according to DNR Conservation Officer Burt Walters.
The current is much stronger than normal, and there is a large amount of debris in the river. The danger, Walters said, is not just from the debris you can see floating on the water.
“Much of it lies just under the surface, or is mixed in with the water from what was flooded upstream,” Walters said.
Boat wakes add to the problems from high water, and Walters says boaters can be held liable for damage caused by the wake created by their boat.
“A lot of boaters are probably unaware that they can be liable for damages their boats may cause on flooded structures,” Walters said. “A boat wake is essentially an extension of the boat.”
Boat wakes can cause erosion along some shorelines and push water into shoreline cabins.
Lock and Dam 17 near New Boston, Illinois was closed to commercial and recreational boat traffic Friday, June 27, 2014, and Lock and Dam 16 at Muscatine was closed Monday, June 30.
The DNR extended the advisory to Lake Odessa in Louisa County. Boat ramps and accesses were all flooded on the lake as of July 1, and the DNR cautioned people to avoid any recreational activity at Lake Odessa until flood waters recede.