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Sharing USGS Science with the Community

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, river scientists from Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC) unveiled an educational display on the banks of the Missouri River near Easley, Missouri.

The display is based on a multi-beam bathymetric habitat map created as part of CERC’s large-river ecology research program. The display is at Cooper’s Landing, a river landmark and a popular destination on the Katy Trail, a Missouri State Park trail that crosses the state and attracts cyclists from around the world.  CERC scientists partnered with Missouri River Relief, a local non-profit that hosts river cleanups and an extensive large-river education program, to develop the display (for more information on CERC's history with Missouri River Relief, see the CSRP blog post It takes a village). We also collaborated with a local Scout who installed the concrete base and sign supports as part of his Eagle Scout project. Our hope is that the display will help visitors learn about the character and complexity of the Missouri River.

Caroline Elliott and Dr. Robert Jacobson, scientists with the Columbia Environmental Research Center
Caroline Elliott and Dr. Robert Jacobson, scientists with the Columbia Environmental Research Center, stand with the recently dedicated interpretive display of Missouri River bathymetry at Cooper's Landing near Columbia, Missouri.

The sign text is below:

What’s on the bottom of the Missouri River?

Sand dunes, sand bars, bedrock, rock dikes, and scour holes are revealed in this reach of river mapped by the USGS River Studies Branch based in Columbia. The bottom of the river was mapped with a multibeam sonar on March 11, 2020. River flow was 175,000 cubic feet per second, a relatively high flow. Sand dunes in the main part of the channel were up to 8 feet high.  The velocity of the river varies, but in the main channel it is generally about 3.5 miles per hour and can approach 7-8 miles per hour when flooding.