Corps Announces End To Low-Water Conditions

The Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division announced in an online post February 5 that low-water conditions along the Mississippi River basin are officially over.

Low water conditions began in the region in September 2022.

“I’m happy to report there are no draft restrictions on the Mississippi River for the third week, and we do not have dredges operating for low water,” said Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples, commanding general of the Mississippi Valley Division. “The Dredges Potter, Hurley and Jadwin have completed dredging operations and are on a 72-hour response if needed.”

The Corps worked with local, state and federal partners and stakeholders to mitigate impacts of the low water. Within the Mississippi River basin, it shared responsibility for the watershed with two other Corps divisions, the Great Lakes and Ohio Division and the Northwestern Division. Both the Ohio and Missouri rivers are major contributors to water inflows within the Mississippi River basin.

The Corps noted that the Mississippi River is one of the busiest waterways in the United States. Of its 4,267 miles of navigable channels (one-third of U.S. inland waterways), 589 million tons of cargo move on the system each year, saving approximately $12.5 billion in transportation costs.

During the drought, the Mississippi Valley Division maintained a 9-foot navigational channel throughout the system, working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the navigation industry to identify problem spots on the river and respond as necessary with dredges.

In June 2023, the Mississippi River again began to experience low-water conditions throughout the basin and the Corps coordinated with industry partners to mitigate potential impacts.

“Our team forecasted another low-water season for 2023,” Peeples said. “We applied the lessons learned from 2022, in continual coordination with our partners, industry and stakeholders, to improve our resiliency from droughts across the Corps and our nation. The close collaboration and communication made a difference. Many thanks to all involved. One team!”