Local Digest

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS > Corps cuts flow from Missouri River reservoir The Army Corps of Engineers on Friday began a gradual reduction of the flow from a Missouri River reservoir under a plan announced this month . The action is expected to worsen low-water conditions on the Mississippi River and may halt barge traffic within weeks. Corps spokeswoman Monique Farmer blamed "an extended period of drought."

The governors of Missouri and Illinois, and 15 U.S. senators whose states sit along the Mississippi River, have protested the reduction after barge operators and shippers warned of an impending economic catastrophe for coal, agriculture, petroleum and other interests. Trade groups have asked President Barack Obama to intervene.

The corps' mandate is to manage the Missouri without regard to consequences on the Mississippi. Officials say the drought has damaged recreation along the upper Missouri, exposed Native American artifacts to possible looting and eventually could hurt production of hydropower. The Mississippi is nearing historic lows between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill. Barges are already required to carry lighter loads, and the section is at risk of closing if the water level at St. Louis dips below minus 5 feet on an arbitrary scale. It was at minus 0.45 feet Friday. Trade groups say it may reach minus 5 by Dec. 10. (AP)

GODFREY > Illinois 255 all open Illinois transportation officials this week marked the opening of the final segment of Illinois Route 255. …