Southeast Missouri ports open despite low-water challenges

Monday, August 27, 2012 | 11:56 a.m. CDT; updated 1:15 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 27, 2012
A river buoy floats Wednesday in the Mississippi River north of Greenville, Miss., as barges and their towboat go by.

CAPE GIRARDEAU — Extremely low water is making shipping a challenge along the Mississippi River in southeast Missouri.

But officials told the Southeast Missourian that ports are likely to remain open.

The river gauge at Cape Girardeau was just under 7 feet on Sunday night, more than low enough to cause problems. Ironically, officials say the problem is worsened because of severe flooding in 2011 that deposited silt and debris in areas that would normally be clear.

Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Mike Petersen said the corps received additional funding for dredging the river this year.

The SEMO Port has already been dredged. Director Dan Overbey said that's the main reason it remains open. But some facilities at the port are having trouble loading barge to maximum capacity.

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