Locks And Dams Keep River From Drying Up At Lax
The upper Mississippi valley may be very dry this summer, but the big river itself has remained deep enough for most boats.
For that, you can thank the 9-foot channel maintained in the lock and dam system...and the frequent dredging done by the Corps of Engineers. Dan Cottrell from the Corps office at Fountain City says despite the government's best efforts to keep the water deep, boats have run aground on a stretch of Pool 5 near Winona because silt collects in large amounts in that area.
The lower Mississippi has seen much lower water levels, with barges frequently becoming stuck on the river bed. Barge operators have tried to lighten their loads so the boat doesn't displace too much water.