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Low Mississippi River water levels impact river users

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 3:48 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) -The Mississippi River is currently experiencing low water levels. This has a significant impact on both recreational and commercial river users, making it costly and more dangerous on the water.

“If you’ve never ran the river before, I would take somebody that has,” Owner of Matty and Son Marine Brandon Matty said.

Matty explains that with the water level so low, recreational boaters should be aware.

“You’re going to have to be careful and watch for debris, rock dikes, anything that will tear up your lower unit or the bottom of your boat.”

Matty says this is due to the large abundance of waste.

“You’ve got people dumping old tires, car parts, 55 gallon barrels, all that will be in the water that shouldn’t be there and that’s stuff you have to watch out for. It’ll get hung up in tree’s and then it might break loose and then it might get into our boat.”

Currently at a depth of less than 9 feet, the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau is below the Army Corps of Engineer’s target level.

Executive Director Cary Harbison works at the Cape Port Authority and said if the water continues to drop, it will be costly for shipping companies.

“They’ll have to light load barges, due to the draft of the barge,” Harbison said. “The depth of the barge under the surface of the water. So, your shipping costs are going to go up for that product for the same about of product.”

Since lower water levels impact most water vessels, Matty had this advice for boaters: “If you don’t have to be out there you know, a lot of people fish for food for there family and stuff so some people do try and get out there. But if you don’t have to I mean, wait until the water comes up.”

The water level of the Mississippi River Thursday afternoon at Cape Girardeau is about 8.5 feet.

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