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Old 10-27-2011
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Never been on the Mississippi but the question intrigued me.

I found ...

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http://fieldguide.fmr.org/site_detail.php?site_id=51
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Mississippi_River
So head of navigation is Coon River Rapids in Minnesota. Up till then vessels of max 9' draft are fine but that does not take into account mast height for going under bridges.
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