It doesn’t appear the navigation season on the Missouri River will be much longer next year. Drought in the upstream Missouri River states has the Army Corps of Engineers leery about releasing much water from the reservoirs there into the river next spring, but Spokesman Paul Johnston says everything depends on this winter. Drought, though, has also lowered the Missouri – prompting barge operators and downstream state officials to call for increased releases. Johnston says the Corps is caught between the two. A normal barge season runs from April 1st to December 1st. It ended 47 days early this year; on October 15th. A lack of runoff from winter snows could cut it a month or two short next year. No spring rise this year. The Fish and Wildlife Service has called for that in 2006 to protect endangered species on the Missouri. Johnston says, at present, reservoir levels are too low to make the spring rise feasible.
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