High water levels temporarily closing locks on upper Mississippi River

Increased precipitation and snow melt is causing water levels to rise on the upper Mississippi River.

Mike Steenhoek, director of the Soy Transportation Coalition tells Brownfield that has forced the closure of some lock and dam sites south of Minneapolis/St. Paul and along the Iowa/Illinois border.

“So obviously that is a concern for us. This time of year, we don’t move a lot of grain for the export market via barge, but we do bring up a lot of fertilizer north bound and any kind of interruption of service is certainly regrettable. We are hoping for this to be short in duration.”

He says more closures are expected this week and could be in place through the second week of May.

Steenhoek says parts of the lower Mississippi River from St. Louis on south that were battling extremely low water levels last fall have seen great improvement but are still far from flood stage.

“There still is a pretty considerable level between where we are right now and what flood stage is, so there is still a lot of spill capacity that remains.”

He says this is a good reminder that river levels can switch from one extreme to the other in a short period of time.

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