SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Daily Union Reporter
and The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Amid strong concerns about the declining level of the already low Mississippi River, the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from an Illinois lake to add to the flow of the Mississippi.
Corps of Engineers officials on Saturday began releasing water at Carlyle Lake in southern Illinois, saying the additional water will provide the depth needed for barge traffic to safely pass Thebes, Ill. Rock formations there will begin to pose a threat to navigation if the river drops another couple of feet. The corps has hired contractors to blast away the formations with work expected to begin this week.
The corps says the additional water from Carlyle Lake is expected to fully reach Thebes by Christmas Eve, providing an additional six inches of depth to the river.
No word has been received about a release to aid the Mississippi, according to Lake Shelbyville manager Ricky Raymond.
“We are about a week behind them in our releases, but we haven’t heard anything yet. We are not looking at going past our normal winter pool of 594 feet,” Raymond said.
Earlier discussions included the possibility of drawing Lake Shelbyville down to 590 feet which could negatively impact the lake’s marinas, which could damage boats left in the slips, and boat ramps, which could affect fishing activities. Lowering to 590 feet would also make it more difficult to raise the level back to 599 feet for the summer.
Raymond added that normal winter drawdown will begin within the next week.