drought

Drought
6:00 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Low Water, High Anxiety On The River

Dave Heyel, chief financial officer of JB Marine Service in south St. Louis County, stands in front of the company's floating office that now sits completely out of the water.
Tim Lloyd St. Louis Public Radio

It seems like we’re constantly hearing about how the worst drought in decades is threatening barge shipping on the Mississippi River. 

One day we’re facing a shutdown, the next day they say commerce will keep rolling on the river.  

Here’s the latest: The Army Corp of Engineers says it’s done enough work to keep the waterway open until the end of this month.   

After that, though, no one is making any promises, and that uncertainty is giving the shipping industry a lingering headache and could end up with local companies cutting jobs.   

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Drought
1:30 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

USDA: Drought Costs Ill. Corn-Producing Status

Credit (via Flickr/KOMUnews/Malory Ensor)

The worst U.S. drought in decades sizzled farmland last year and cost Illinois its spot as the nation's second-biggest corn producer.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report on 2012 crops shows that Illinois slumped to fourth among corn-producing states. It was overtaken by Minnesota and Nebraska, while Iowa still heads the pack.

The USDA says Illinois farmers produced 1.3 billion bushels of corn in 2012. That's down from 1.9 billion bushels each of the previous two years.

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Drought / Agriculture
5:34 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

63 Missouri Counties Now Eligible For Drought-Related Aid

A drought-stricken field in Boone County, Mo. in June 2012.
(via Flickr/KOMUnews/Malory Ensor)

The ongoing drought  has prompted the United States Department of Agriculture to designate 63 Missouri counties as disaster areas or eligible for disaster assistance.

The designation makes farmers and ranchers in those counties eligible for certain types of aid to help them recover from drought-related losses and damages.

Several counties in the St. Louis Public Radio listening area have been named as "primary disaster areas," including:

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Drought
6:09 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Durbin, Enyart Say River Will Stay Open For Business

(via Flickr/The Confluence)

The worst drought in decades has slowly eviscerated the mighty Mississippi River. 

Monday morning both U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and freshly sworn in U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart (D-Belleville) got a firsthand look at work being done to keep the waterway commercially viable to shippers.

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Drought
12:38 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Army Corps Tamps Down Barge Worries On Mississippi

The USS Inaugural minesweeper, lays on its side exposed on a sand bar on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis on December 7, 2012.
Credit UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 2:20 pm with comments from Gov. Jay Nixon.

Federal officials say they're confident that they'll be able to keep a crucial stretch of the drought-starved Mississippi River open to barge traffic and avoid a shipping shutdown that the industry fears is imminent.

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Drought
2:48 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Drought Puts The Squeeze On Already Struggling Fish Farms In Mo., Elsewhere

Catfish swim in a tub outside the Osage Catfisheries office.
Kristofor Husted KBIA News

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 5:10 pm

This year's drought delivered a pricey punch to US aquaculture, the business of raising fish like bass and catfish for food. Worldwide, aquaculture has grown into a $119 billion industry, but the lack of water and high temperatures in 2012 hurt many U.S. fish farmers who were already struggling to compete on a global scale.

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Economy
8:15 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Drought Concerns Remain For Barge Industry

Credit (via Flickr/The Confluence)

The barge industry again raised concerns Wednesday about the impact low water levels on the Mississippi River will have on shipping.

According to a new report from American Waterways Operators, low water could affect more than 8,000 jobs along the river. The group's spokeswoman, Ann McCulloch, says the situation isn't expected to improve any time soon.

"We're definitely worried about the immediate impact if commerce is severely impaired," said McCulloch.  "We're at that stage already and at this point it can only get worse."

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Economy
6:57 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Mississippi Levels Drop, Barge Traffic Could Halt Mid-January

via Flickr/TeamSaintLouis (Army Corps of Engineers)

Updated 3:13 p.m. Dec. 28

The Mississippi River's water level is dropping again and barge industry trade groups warn that river commerce could essentially come to a halt by mid-January.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports ice on the northern section of the Mississippi is reducing flow more than expected.

Despite that fact, the Coast Guard remains confident that the nation's largest waterway will remain open.

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Economy
3:10 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Illinois Leaders Meet In Alton To Discuss Mississippi Drought

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, in Alton, Ill.
Credit Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois politicians and business leaders met in Alton on Monday to discuss ongoing efforts to keep shipping open on the drought-stricken Mississippi River.

The meeting coincides with work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove rock formations from the riverbed just south of Cape Girardeau.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin called the drought situation “a historic challenge," saying that additional measures may have to be taken to keep commerce functioning.

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shipping
2:04 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

Corps Increasing Flow From Ill. Reservoir To Aid Shippers

Credit (via Flickr/The Confluence)

The Army Corps of Engineers has started releasing more water from Carlyle Lake in Illinois to help keep barges moving along the Mississippi River.

Army Corps of Engineers Spokesman Mike Peterson says they had a pretty good idea this summer’s brutal drought would cause big shipping problems in the fall and winter.

So, they held back water in Carlyle Lake, which is a little over 50 miles east of St. Louis, because it's one of the region's few reservoirs with a little extra water from rain.  

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