The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is closely monitoring water levels on the Upper Mississippi River as drought conditions continue across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. However, the low water is not affecting shipping conditions on the river, and navigation continues.
Dan Fasching of the St. Paul District states, "Low flow is exactly the conditions for which the locks were built," adding, "The locks, combined with dredging efforts, are used to maintain navigable depths in the main channel."
The lowest flow recorded at Lock and Dam 2, in Hastings, Minnesota, was in 1976, when the flow fell to only 500 cubic feet per second and navigation continued. The current flow at Lock and Dam 2 is around 3,000 cubic feet per second.
Earlier this month, water flows were reduced on the Missouri River at Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota due to drought conditions in the Upper Missouri River basin.