The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already enacted the annual reduction of water releases on the Missouri River that have closed commercial navigation on the Missouri River at St. Louis, where the Missouri flows into the Mississippi River. Typically, navigation is possible on the Missouri River from April to December by controlled releases of water from the upstream reservoirs.
The lower water releases began to have an impact on Mississippi River water levels this week. Although current Mississippi River levels are lower than average, improved drought conditions and additional precipitation could help avoid any potential navigation issues while Missouri River flows are reduced.
In addition, in December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) typically schedules certain Mississippi River Locks to be closed for repairs. Portions of the Mississippi River begin to have ice accumulations at this time of year that halt commercial barge traffic.
Mississippi River Lock and Dam 18, near Gladstone, IL will be closed for repairs from December 18, 2013, through March 4, 2014. Mississippi River Lock 22 will close from January 7 to March 4.
Weather permitting, the Illinois River will remain open during the winter months. In addition, the lower locks on the Mississippi River, near St. Louis, MO, are scheduled to remain open. The Pinnacle Removal Project- Phase II on the Mississippi River at Thebes, IL, will begin no later than mid-December. Work there may delay barge movements as traffic restrictions may be implemented around the rock removal site.