Water from Minn. reservoirs released to help low levels in Mississippi River

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The drought that troubled the Midwest for much of the year is wreaking havoc on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis, presenting potential problems for barge traffic, KSTP-TV reported.

At issue is the Army Corps of Engineers' plans to reduce the flow from the Missouri River dam, and the fear is that if the water gets too low, it will halt barges in about three to five weeks.

To east the threat of low river levels, water from reservoirs in Minnesota started heading downstream Friday, the Star Tribune reported. According to the paper, the flow from Pokegama Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, Big Sandy Lake and Gull Lake will continue for three weeks.

In the meantime, a barge industry trade group has asked President Barack Obama to intervene so the Missouri River water keeps flowing.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-St. Paul District told the Star Tribune that the Mississippi water from Minnesota will only cut 3 to 6 inches off the 3-foot drop expected from the flow reduction of the Missouri River.

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