The Corp of Engineers has been removing rocks from the Mississippi River to keep it open to barges. The river level has dropped because of a hard drought in the central part of the country. January is generally the month with the lowest rainfall in the region, and officials are hoping for the assistance of rains next month.
The Corp has released water from Carlyle Reservoir to help bring up water levels. Reservoirs on the Missouri River, the major tributary of the Mississippi, are legally off limits without special action by the president or Congress. This would likely be an unpopular move with many Missouri River states, which seem to be gearing up for more battles over competing uses.
Related posts and articles
Drought Points Up Critical Role of Waterways (Schwartz, J., New York Times Green blog, Jan. 18, 2013)
Keeping the Boats Moving Along a Mississippi Dwindled by Drought (Schwartz, J., New York Times, Jan. 17, 2013)
Mississippi River May Soon Be Unnavigable, Despite Army Geoengineers' Best Efforts (Dillow, C., Popular Science, Jan. 14, 2013)
Rain and melting snow boosts Mississippi water level (Wuerz, S., Belleville News-Democrat, Jan. 10, 2013)