Low Levels on Big Muddy Drydock Barges

1 decade 2 years 4 months ago Thursday, July 27 2006 Jul 27, 2006 Thursday, July 27, 2006 9:07:48 PM CDT July 27, 2006 in News

Since Tuesday, most operators have parked their barges, because the river isn't deep enough to navigate. The river level is below 8 feet near Waverly, which could damage barges.

Agriservices in Brunswick operates barges on the river, but the company can't ship a load of fertilizer and grain it planned to this week.

"We've been trying to get railroad cars and loading it in trucks and stuff like that," said employee Zach Walbrink. "I've known it's been getting low. I've lived around here all my life and it's getting lower every year, and no barges can get through to get our grain out. It kind of hurts the company."

The Corps of Engineers is supposed to keep the river at least 8 feet deep. Critics said the agency keeps too much water behind dams upstream in South Dakota, but the Corps said drought dropped the river to 30 feet below normal, as low as during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

The Corps plans to dredge or channel the river to raise the water level by next week, but warned that the only real solution is more rain.

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