Two river navigation trade associations say the Army Corps of Engineers will blow up rock outcrops on the Mississippi River next week. The rock pinnacles in Thebes, Ill., could block river traffic after Christmas if water levels continue to fall. The rock removal is a half-victory for barge companies, who also want the Corps to release water from Missouri River reservoirs.
American Waterways Operators spokesperson Ann McColloch says the rock blasting project is welcome news, but adds the work will take an extended period of time.
A top Army Corps of Engineers official says an updated forecast means it’s unlikely the lower Mississippi River will close to shipping. Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy tells interested state lawmakers the agency won't scale back the amount of Missouri River water it began withholding last month from the Mississippi. Lawmakers and the barge industry had sought the extra water to prevent a shipping crisis.
Kentucky U. S. Congressman Ed Whitfield has joined those calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to increase water flow on the Mississippi River. The Corps has reduced flow from the Missouri River into the Mississippi to preserve water reservoirs.