The Ohio is prone to spring flooding, and extensive flood control and protection devices have been constructed along the river and its tributaries. These devices also improve the river's navigability; a 9-ft (2.7-m) channel is maintained along its entire length. A system of modern locks and dams, constructed since 1955 to replace older structures, speeds the transit of barges and leisure craft. A canal (first opened in 1830) at Louisville bypasses the Falls of the Ohio, a 21/4-mi (3.6-km)-long series of rapids having a 24-ft (7-m) drop.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.