Mississippi River flooding wreaking havoc at accesses

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Winona District, is warning that boaters should be vigilant Memorial Day weekend as flood waters will have significantly changed conditions at traditional access, camping, and day-use sites. Excessive current, turbid water, and submerged and floating hazards should be expected in the river this weekend.

Boaters should also be prepared to locate alternative boat ramps to access the Mississippi River between Wabasha, Minn., and Trempealeau, Wis., as ramps may be closed due to flooding.  Landings are closed when water levels submerse the ramp and/or dock, cover any portion that is asphalt, or obscure the concrete curbing from view. Refuge personnel are constantly evaluating river conditions to determine when refuge boat ramps can be opened.

Currently, the following boat landings are closed and not expected to open for the holiday weekend: Peterson Lake and Halfmoon located near Kellogg, Minn., and access road to Halfmoon; Verchota and McNally on the Prairie Island Dike near Minnesota City, Minn.; Mertes’ Slough on Highway 54/43 near Winona, Minn.; and Indian, Beef, and Pontoon Slough landings on Highway 25 (Nelson Dike) between Wabasha, Minn., and Nelson, Wis.

Questions regarding the availability of boat ramps can be addressed by calling the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge at 507-454-7351.

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