Nixon asks Corps of Engineers to preserve water flow - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Nixon asks Corps of Engineers to preserve water flow on the Mississippi River

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Gov. Jay Nixon is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to continue providing water flow to the Mississippi River.

In a letter sent to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the governor urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue providing water flow from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River.

According to the governor's office, the Corps' current plans would stop the release of water from the Missouri River's upstream reservoirs beginning December 1. The governor says this would negatively impact navigation the Mississippi River.

According to a spokesman for the governor, under normal conditions, water from the Missouri River accounts for about 60 percent of the flow in the Mississippi River. However, because of this year's significant drought, the Mississippi River has received as much as 78 percent of its water from the Missouri River.

Even with this support from the Missouri River, the spokesman says the low water levels in the Mississippi have forced barge operators to carry lighter loads. He says this has decreased productivity and potentially reducing exports. Without additional and continued support, America's barge and export operations are at risk.

"The 2012 drought has caused a significant impact on water levels on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. With the continuing and projected lack of adequate precipitation, additional barge traffic restrictions on – or even closure of – the Mississippi River channel become imminent possibilities. I urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to avert potential economic disaster on this vital avenue American farmers use to get their goods into the world market," Gov. Nixon said in his letter.

Gov. Nixon noted in his letter that the Corps has the authority to provide the additional water, and cited previous occasions in which the Corps has deviated from its established plan in order to prevent adverse impacts.

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