U.S. Department of Defense



Date of this Version



Published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2009) 1-2


Since the early 1800s, the Missouri River has been a thoroughfare for the
transportation of goods. The U.S. government began taking an active interest in Missouri River navigation in 1832, as steamboats became the preferred means of transporting goods and people. On July 3, 1832, Congress authorized channel improvements on the Missouri River. These early river improvements involved mainly addressing obstacles in the river.

Since 1912, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has managed the river to
allow for modern commercial navigation and trade. This fact sheet will describe the history of navigation on the Missouri River, navigation today, the Corps’ involvement and the challenges involved in balancing the use of the river’s resources.