City of Dubuque officials, boaters happy to see Mississippi River dip below flood stage

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) -- It's been a record-setting 85 days since the Mississippi River has been below flood stage in Dubuque. According to the National Weather Service, it will finally get below 17 feet Thursday into Friday, which means Dubuque's levee system is about to get a break. Meanwhile, boaters are looking forward to better river conditions.

After a record-setting 85 days, the Mississippi River at Dubuque finally dips below flood stage of 17 feet on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Charlie Grant, KCRG)

Dubuque Public Works Director John Klostermann says when the river gets to around 17 feet, many of the city's flood gates are able to open. However, some cannot open until the river gets down to 13 feet. Those are on the north end of town.

Still, once the river gets below flood stage, the city must review the levee.

"Within 30 days we’ll have to make an inspection of the levee and look for damage. And we do that in conjunction with our agreement with the Corps of Engineers," Klostermann said.

The Port of Dubuque Marina will open this weekend for the first time this year. However, the city will not be able to open the Miller Riverview Park until the river dips below 14 feet. Park Division Manager Steve Fehsal said the park won't be open in time for the Fourth of July.

"There’s no way we’ll be open by July Fourth," he said. "First the rivers got to go down, it’s got to dry out for a week or so, and then we have to get equipment in there, and so that’s two to three weeks. And, you know the rivers not going to get below 14 feet until next weekend.”

This Friday, Fehsal said his employees will begin to call people who have made reservations for the campground that week.

Boaters have been watching the river levels closely this year and are anxious to get out on a river that's not flooded. Linda Scholl was cleaning her boat at the Yardarm Marina on Thursday, preparing for a busy weekend of boating.

"We’re excited. We’re ready to be boating," she said. "I’m trying to get cleaned up today."

She said it's coming down at just the right time.

"Next weekend is the River Festival, so that’s good," she said. "We’re gonna have a big party for the Fourth here, so that’s always good."