There may be help on the way along the Mississippi River.   U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) says he and 61 other congressman from the Midwest have sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers voicing their concern about water levels on the Mississippi River.  As they do annually, the Corps recently ended flow support on the Missouri River, which feeds the Mississippi River.
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This summer’s drought has left the Mississippi with lower water levels than usual, and will likely disrupt barge traffic as we move closer to the New Year.  Schock says in response to his letter, the Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to do two things: First, work to remove rocks from the river will be moved up from March to January. Removing rock pinnacles from the Mississippi River would enable barge traffic to continue, at least for a while longer. Second, Schock says the Corps will review their procedure of ending flow support.
The Army Corps of Engineers provides an eight-month navigation season which runs from April 1-Dec. 1. During that period, “full service flows” are designed to provide a 9-foot-deep by 300-foot-wide navigation channel.
Barges are responsible for moving everything from grain to jet fuel and many contend that if barge traffic were to come to a stop it would have an impact on Illinois’ and surrounding states’ economies.  Schock says it would especially be bad for commerce across the country, as 80 percent of the jet fuel used at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is transported via barges.
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