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Corps cuts flow on Missouri River, move likely to impact Mississippi River

Barges power their way up the Mississippi River at St. Louis. If the river level drops another 4.5 feet, barge traffic could be halted. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The Army Corps of Engineers has begun reducing the flow from a Missouri River reservoir, a move expected to worsen low water conditions on the Mississippi River and potentially halt barge traffic at St. Louis within weeks.

Monique Farmer of the corps office in Omaha, Neb., confirmed Friday that reduction of outflow from the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota began Friday. She says the reduction is necessary because of drought on the upper Missouri River.

The Missouri flows into the Mississippi near St. Louis. Barge traffic at St. Louis could be halted if the Mississippi drops another 4.5 feet.

The governors of Missouri and Illinois and 15 senators have urged the corps to reconsider the flow reduction or risk economic catastrophe for firms that rely on the Mississippi for shipping.

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