A top Army Corps of Engineers official says she believes the low Mississippi River will remain open to shipping, partly justifying the agency's decision to not release more water from the Missouri River into the Mississippi.
Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy, in a Thursday letter obtained by The Associated Press, tells lawmakers from Mississippi River states that the agency won't be scaling back the amount of Missouri River water it began withholding last month from the Mississippi.
Businesses that work and ship on the Mississippi River are seeking a presidential declaration keep water flowing out of reservoirs on the Missouri River.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closes dams in South Dakota at this time every year to store water to maintain levels later in the spring and summer.
The Missouri River accounts for roughly 60 percent of the water flowing by St. Louis. In a drought-year like this year, George Foster of St. Louis’ J.B. Marine says reducing river levels would risk closing the shipping channel.
Federal lawmakers from several states along the Mississippi River are pressing to modernize the waterway's locks-and-dams system, which they say desperately needs repair.
Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk of Illinois, Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt from Missouri, and Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley from Iowa are pressing the Environmental and Public Works Committee to ensure funding to hasten what they term critical improvements.
Updated 1:45 p.m.Lock 27 reopened this morning at 3:30 a.m. after being closed for 5 days. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, it may take up to 72 hours to push through the 63 vessels and 455 barges, some from as far as New Orleans, that backed up during the closure. The Corps estimated that the closure cost nearly $3 million per day . Lock 27 underwent major rehab in the past few years and was damaged due to low water levels.
The issue of keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes has implications for a variety of industries. Midwest officials are weighing a range of options, including severing the connection between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins. This last option comes with a list of potential economic implications for the shipping and manufacturing industry.
For instance, the 70-mile stretch of Mississippi River at St. Louis is one of the busiest inland ports in America—a place where grain, aggregate and steel are loaded and shipped up and down the river.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his administration is keeping tabs on river levels along the Missouri and Mississippi as drought conditions persist across the state. He indicates that the Missouri River may be in worse shape.
“I think that the challenges on the Missouri are a little more significant than the Mississippi," Nixon said at a gathering Wednesday in Jefferson City. "Minnesota has had a fair amount of rain in that part of the country, but we’re watching those issues very carefully.”
There's more sun and heat in the forecast for St. Louis. Not great for a region that's in the midst of the worst drought in decades. Now, we've heard about the effect the drought is having on on farmers -- but it turns out it's also shrinking the shipping lanes in the Mississippi River.
Our own Adam Allington reports for Marketplace Morning Report this morning. See more via the link.