Mississippi River needs more runoff

The Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition says the upper Midwest needs another major rain event to help improve water levels on the Mississippi River.

Mike Steenhoek tells Brownfield runoff from the slow-moving rain system nearly a month ago has already flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. “We’re back to water levels going down and, in many cases, we’re actually lower right now than we were at the same time last year, which last year was a historically low-water event.”

Steenhoek says barge companies are again limiting the amount of cargo to prevent barges from running aground.  He says they’re also limiting the number of barges in a tow. “The channel is not only more shallow, it’s more narrow, and so you don’t have the luxury of being able to put 40 barges together, which you can see moving south from St. Louis. That all of the sudden changes the economics of barge transportation.”

Steenhoek says in a normal year, about 60% of the water at the St. Louis confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers comes from the Mississippi River, but that has been reversed lately because of more rain falling in the Missouri River watershed.

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