Shippers on the Mississippi River are thanking the Army Corps of Engineers now that a crippling river shut down seems to have been averted.
In the beginning of January fears of a shutdown reached their height. Barge operators began pleading with the Army Corps to release additional water in order to keep the Mississippi at the required 9 feet barges need to maneuver.
With the ongoing drought, river levels continued to drop, so the Corps rushed in contractors to remove two feet of material from the bottom of a busy channel near St. Louis.
They also released water from Lake Red Rock in Central Iowa and Carlyle Lake in Southern Illinois.
Barge operators had originally asked the Corps to release more water into the Missouri River in order to help out the Mississippi, but the Corps said they couldn’t do that.
Even though they are still operating at reduced levels, shippers hope that the extra lake water and the rock removal will keep the river moving until spring rains, and melting snow bring river levels back up.