The Mississippi River Project
University of Memphis Photo
Mississippi River Project: Day 13

The lost streamer was still snagged to the buried tree root system that had started the sequence of rapid events two days earlier. The streamer is located in ~30 ft of water. The river current is keeping the streamer, which normally floats just below the water’s surface, against the riverbed. As we approach the hotter months of summer and reduced rainfall, the river will drop. Calculations for the river level near the lost streamer during low flow would place the streamer in 3 ft of water. Waiting until then is not the best scenario. The river will not drop to near 3 ft for 2-3 months. That’s a long time under water with continued abrasion from sand, waterlogged debris and continued strain against the caught section of the streamer.

So Kirk headed out with the Corps of Engineers in an attempt to retrieve the streamer. They were gone for nearly 4 hours. Guess what…they had their hands on the streamer…twice. They caught the streamer with the homemade grappling hook. In the time they had the streamer they were able to attach two buoys tied together. But the want of the river to keep its prize took the streamer from our hands under a force far greater than our ability to hold onto what little piece of streamer and hope we had. It disappeared once again beneath the muddy waters, buoys and all.

I’ve been told the river is dangerous, even able to take a man under wearing a life jacket. Granted other factors played a role with the river pulling the streamer with two buoys tied to it back to the riverbed, but still it still speaks to the amazing power and unseen forces beneath what often seems a calm river and the importance to not let up your guard.

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Last Updated: 1/23/12