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Mississippi River shippers seek federal help for historically low water levels

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Crews load and unload consumer products at the Port of New Orleans along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana
Crews load and unload consumer products at the Port of New Orleans along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana

LA CROSSE, WI (WTAQ) - Shippers that use the Mississippi River continue to ask the federal government for help, as the water levels reach historic lows south of St. Louis.

On Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers started reducing an outflow from a reservoir on the Upper Missouri River to ease drought conditions in that region. And it reduced the flows on the Mississippi, which raises the risk of further limits on barge traffic by early next month.

There’s also talk that the river might close between St. Louis and Cairo Illinois. And if that happens, Ann McCulloch of the American Waterways Operators says it could cost businesses millions of dollars up and down the river.

Businesses and trade groups want the Army Corps to restore the flow on the Mississippi, and the speed up the removing of rock formations which impede the river’s barge traffic. 

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