Mississippi River basin drought conditions officially over

Feb. 5, 2024
Drought conditions that had affected the Mississippi River’s commercial operations since September 2022 are officially over, according to the USACE Mississippi Valley Division.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mississippi Valley Division announced that the drought affecting the Mississippi River basin since 2022 is officially over.

USACE experienced drought conditions throughout the Mississippi River Basin since September 2022. Since then, the group worked with its local, state, and federal partners and stakeholders to mitigate the impacts of drought.

“I’m happy to report there are no draft restations on the Mississippi River for the third week and we do not have dredges operating for low water,” said Brigadier General Kimberly Peeples, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi Valley Division. “The Dredges POTTER, HURLEY, and JADWIN have completed dredging operations and are on a 72-hour response if needed.”

Drought impacts commercial and recreational operations along waterways. It delays goods and services to the ports downstream, and impacts on the economy.

The Corps operates its water basins as a system-wide approach. The 2022 drought within the Mississippi River basin lines are shared with two other major Corps divisions: the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division and the North West Division. The Ohio River and the Missouri rivers are major contributors to water inflows within the Mississippi River.

The Mississippi River is one of the busiest waterways in the United States. Of its 4,267 miles of navigable channels (1/3 of U.S. inland waterways) 589 million tons of cargo move on the system each year with cost savings in transportation at $12.5 billion. Maintaining and protecting the Mississippi River and other deep draft waterways is one of our key missions.

During the drought conditions, MVD maintained 9-foot navigation throughout the system, working with USCG and the Navigational industry to identify problem spots on the river, and respond with necessary dredge assets. Corps dredges were engaged and ready to respond as needs arose.

Beginning in June 2023, the Mississippi River again began to experience low-water conditions throughout the basin and coordinated with industry and partners to mitigate potential impacts.