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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – Monday night FOX2 presented a special report on the dropping river levels for the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.  Both rivers could be facing historic low river levels that could affect every aspect of our lives, here in the St. Louis region.

Mandy Murphey, Tom O’Neal, Dave Murray and reporter Charles Jaco look at the impact the rivers have on our economy, barge traffic and what we can do, to keep the river open.

Crisis On The Mississippi Part 1

Water levels on the Mississippi River continue to drop.   The Army Corps of Engineers says the river could be at historic lows by the end of the month.   It is the corps’ job to work to keep the river open.  Since July, the dredge vessel “Potter” has been working in the river to keep the water depth at nine feet or more, the depth that is required for barges to navigate the river.   The Army Corps of Engineers says its confident it can keep the river open with its dredging operation.  The last time water levels got this low in 1988-1989, eight dredge vessels worked to keep the river open, now two are in operation.  The corps says this year is different, because since 1989, the agency has worked to build structures in the river to channel the water to help naturally scour the bottom.
Crisis On The Mississippi Part 2

The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for helping tow captains safely navigate the river.  Part of its responsibility is to set buoys in the river showing those captains where it is safe to travel.  Barges must remain between the red buoys on the east side of the river and the green buoys on the Missouri side.   The Coast Guard uses 1500 pound concrete blocks to set the buoys in place.

Crisis On The Mississippi Part 3

Meteorologist Dave Murray interviewed Bob Criss, a Professor at Washington University on the rivers being over managed.

Council declined our invitation to appear tonight, but they did send us a statement that reads in part:

“…Traffic on the Missouri River is entirely due to reliability –  the knowledge that a reliable channel will exist in the future drives transportation on -or off – the river, impacting product availability, transportation costs, and, ultimately job creation.

Now we`re seeing the early stages of that on the Mississippi from the drought.   Low water levels – and even the uncertainty of water levels – are impeding and could ultimately halt Mississippi traffic.   Rain is certainly necessary, but other options, such as Missouri River flows, are available and should be utilized.”

Jaco Report: Mississippi River Levels

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