Missouri River

(via Flickr/pasa47)

Politicians across the Midwest are continuing to press the President to declare a state of emergency on the Mississippi River to allow barge traffic to keep flowing.

Every year roughly $180 billion worth of freight makes its way up and down the river.

Now, a record shortage of water on the nation’s major inland waterways is expected to put upward pressure on everything from food items to electricity.

The drought effect

(via Flickr/The Confluence)

Updated 3:23 p.m. with statement from McCaskill

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri says if the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t increase water flow from the upper Missouri River the next move may be to ask the president to step in.

The Corps began reducing the outflow from a dam in South Dakota on Friday.

That means less water for the already-low Mississippi River, which could lead to restrictions or even a halt on barge traffic by mid-December.

Senator Blunt says transportation down the river could be severely impacted if nothing is done.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

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.

(via Flickr/The Confluence)

Updated 12:29 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the barge industry are imploring the federal government to keep water flowing on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers or face potential "economic disaster."

The drought has left many waterways at historic lows. Nixon sent a letter Friday urging the Army Corps of Engineers to rethink plans to reduce the amount of water released from the Missouri's upstream reservoir. That would also reduce flow on the Mississippi below St. Louis.

(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Photo by Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk)

A Corps of Engineers study says more research and monitoring are needed to reduce the likelihood of damage along the Missouri River in future floods.

The study released Monday focuses on remaining vulnerabilities after the Missouri River rose to record levels last year. The flooding began after the corps released massive amounts of water from upstream reservoirs filled by melting snow and heavy rain.

Most repairs to damaged levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are expected to be finished before next spring. Work on the river's dams expected to take longer.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A state appeals court has upheld the efforts of St. Peters, Mo. to use tax increment financing to build a levee structure along Highway 370 to open the area to re-development.

(Flickr/Brian Hillegas)

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 21, to add comments from South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley. Originally posted Aug. 20.

What does an oil and gas boom in North Dakota have to do with Missouri River reservoirs?

Hydrofracturing – the process that gets new wells up and running – takes lots of water.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were in Alton Friday as part of their annual low-water inspection.

The Corps has stepped up emergency scouring and dredging operations in response to the unprecedented low water levels in the Mississippi River Basin.

Marty Hettle works for the barge operator, AEP.  He says the river forecast is not expected to trend upward any time soon.

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.”

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Review your route: I-64 work has begun

Several ramps on the stretch of I-64 that runs through downtown closed for roadwork this morning.

The ramps from 10th Street and 14th Street will be closed around the clock, as will the ramp from Broadway.

Missouri Department of Transportation spokesman Andrew Gates says there will also be ramp closures for motorists heading into downtown.

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