Business owners in Grafton, Illinois expect the tourist trade to pick up after this Friday. That's when the Grafton Ferry will start running again after being closed for the past three years. The ferry spans the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers between Missouri and Illinois.
The city of Grafton bought the landings and spent $200,000 dredging the river to remove silt buildup. The city is working on a federal grant to help cover the cost of maintaining the channel.
The 12 minute ferry ride from St. Charles to Grafton will cost $8 one way, $15 round trip. The ferry will operate from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The city will celebrate the reopening with a public ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00 a.m. Friday morning at the Grafton launch.
The Department of Conservation says a conservation area in Lincoln County north of St. Louis recorded 7,000 snow geese, with an estimated 15,000 birds in the surrounding area.
Snow geese spend the winter in Missouri and other southern areas of their range. They return north to the Arctic to nest.
The birds are common in marshes, rivers, lakes and crop fields. They move constantly to seek a place to feed.