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Falling Water in the Mississippi Could be Helped by the Missouri

The lower Mississippi River may soon experience record low levels last seen in the 1930’s.  That’s according to the Army Corps of Engineers, who are responsible for the Lock and Damn system which keeps the upper Mississippi navigable despite the drought.

Even though the Tri-States region is located along the section of the river controlled by the lock and dam system, that doesn’t mean it's immune to the drought’s affects.

Farmers ship grain along the river and the prices they get for their grain will be affected by the troubles on the lower Mississippi.  The lower water levels will force barges to filled below their normal capacity which could cause shipping prices to climb.

John Benz with the Ursa Farmers Cooperative in Adams County said they are nearly finished sending shipments along the river. Though, he said, if farmers want to take advantage of high demand for grain later this winter they could run into problems.

“That’s not to say in the winter months here with this change in the flow, that you may miss out on some opportunities if you could ship it,” Benz said.

Congressmen have called for the Corp to let more water flow from the Missouri River into the Mississippi to raise the water level. By federal Law only so much water can run through a key damn on the Missouri. Even if a way could found around the law there is another problem.

The water would come from reservoirs along the Missouri which many states will rely on the coming year to irrigate their crops.

Scott Stuntz is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.