Lack of Water Flow to Mississippi to Cause Freight Problems | St. Louis Public Radio

Lack of Water Flow to Mississippi to Cause Freight Problems

Nov 23, 2012

This week, the Army Corp of Engineers began shutting flow from a South Dakota reservoir which feeds into

Credit (via Flickr/The Confluence)

the Mississippi River, just north of St. Louis.

The overall lack of water is expected to cause big problems moving freight on the river.

The Army Corp is holding back water at the Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, SD., to conserve for the next Missouri River shipping season. But the Mississippi River needs that water right now to keep the shipping channel at St. Louis at least nine-feet deep.

But Major General John Peabody of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, says the Corp can't act to benefit one party, at the expense of others.

"The truth is, without the dam you would probably have, basically a trickle at this time of year anyway, because we would have no storage capability," said Peabody. "So, actually you're getting more than you would have if not for the projects of the Corps of Engineers."

About 60 percent of the water flowing by St. Louis comes from the Missouri River.

Compounding the issue is the fact that North Dakota's leaders are eager to tap millions of gallons from those same reservoirs for use in the state's oil fracking boom.