Army Corps of Engineers announces end of low-water drought in Mississippi Valley Division

Mississippi Valley Division
Published Feb. 2, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mississippi Valley Division announced today the drought that plagued the Mississippi River basin since 2022 is officially over. Low water conditions began in the region in September 2022.

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

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers experienced drought conditions throughout the Mississippi River Basin and worked with its local, state, and federal partners and stakeholders to mitigate the impacts. The Corps understood how drought impacts commercial and recreational industry and delays goods and services to the ports downstream and the future 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 which encompasses 17 states and the Northwestern Division which encompasses all or parts of nine states and, the Southwestern Division which encompasses six states.  The Ohio 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.

Peeples said, “Our team forecasted another low-water season for 2023. We applied the lessons learned from 2022, in continual coordination with our partners, industry and stakeholders, to improve our resiliency from droughts across the Corps and our nation. The close collaboration and communication made a difference. Many thanks to all involved. One Team!”



Release no. 24-002