Coast Guard: Mississippi River will stay open


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - David Dycus

PADUCAH, KY-   Pulling up a web page dotted with red and the names of not too far away cities Ryan Wilson explains, "This is the Mississippi."



Wilson, the operations manager at ADM Processing, begins every day by checking on it.  His business depends on it, his business is grain.  The problem this summer was the crop, now it is transporting that crop.

"That's just something you don't think of in December is drought. You think of it in July, August."

With that drought, he says, comes dollars- the possibility of losing them.

The weekend rain did offer some relief, but the Coast Guard says it is going to take a lot more to maintain the rivers weakened by months of drought.  Currently, the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau sits at 7.5 feet.  Flood stage is 32 feet.

But the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Unit in Paducah is pledging to keep those waterways, as low as they may be, open. Lt. Dan McQuate says there is not only a local, but international need.

"We got calls from people in Asia and England, people wandering what's going to happen to the river."

Lt. McQuate will continue to monitor those levels and the Coast Guard is asking all others on the water to do the same.

"They'll need to call and say who they are, their boat, what they've got loaded, how much," he explained.

Ryan Wilson says he is glad to know those barges, with his grain, will be loaded.

But he says his business is not out of the clear just yet, "I'm happy for the good outlook but you gotta plan for the worst and know that's a possibility."