by Ken Root & Whitney Flach
On this Friday in late September, we are aware of flooding on the Upper Mississippi River and the streams and rivers flowing into the waterway.
The Corps of Engineers runs the Locks and Dams on the Upper Mississippi from St. Louis to St Paul. I spoke with the Lock Master at Guttenberg about his job and his views of the eighty year old facilities that the Corps operates and maintains.
Sam Mackowitz is the Lockmaster for Lock and Dam 10 on the Mississippi River at Guttenberg Iowa. Mackowitz explains that the lock and the dam creates a set of stairs that goes up and down the river. The River travels from an elevation. It drops in elevation, where there are natural points such as a waterfall that a boat couldn’t travel through. “The dock essentially creates a step,” Mackowitz said.
He also explained that Lock and Dam 10 was built in the late 1930’s, which means it is 80 years old. Mackowitz shared, “There is no fee or permit required for boats to go through the docks. They can just come up, reach us on Channel 14, with a cell phone, or use the talk back system.”