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Columbia Missourian

Murky Waters

By Katherine Harmon
November 10, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Under the currents of the Missouri River lies a murky world where the currency is not water but sediment.

From its mountainous headwaters in Montana to its mouth outside St. Louis, the Missouri River acts like a conveyor belt, moving millions of tons of sediment — a mixture of sand, soil and silt. At St. Louis, the Mississippi River takes over and carries the load down to the Gulf of Mexico.


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Over the past century, the system’s economy has been faltering. Signs from Kansas City to the Gulf indicate the river’s sediment — or lack of it — might have lasting environmental and economic ramifications.

Click here to read more about the current woes.