Low river causing problems for barges, fishermen - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Low river causing problems for barges, fishermen

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The low Mississippi River level had the agencies that patrol waterways on alert Tuesday. The low Mississippi River level had the agencies that patrol waterways on alert Tuesday.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The low Mississippi River level had the agencies that patrol waterways on alert Tuesday.

The drought is causing a range of hazards and access challenges in and around the river.

Sand bars that are usually covered by the river are now clearly visible.

Officials with the Memphis Police Harbor Patrol tells me the low river means the waters in many areas may be too low for boats to reach certain areas.

The low water level is causing a mighty mess for Mississippi fishermen.

"It's low," said fisherman Jon Clark. "The water is below the ramp."

For Jon Clark, the low water level is a hazard to his property.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns that low river levels impact water quality, navigation, recreation and water safety.

In fact, if the water gets too shallow, the A.C.E. will limit how much cargo a barge can carry, which would strike a blow to river commerce.

Fishermen said the shallow water meant that it took them a half hour to get their boats out of the water instead of the minute it normally takes.

The A.C.E. also says the low water level is a public health concern due to the elevated risk of harmful algae blooms.

Fisherman Danny Ervin had his own worries about river debris.

"That's all I was catching on the hook: debris," he said.

The fishermen hope the ramp at Greenbelt Park can be fortified to prevent property damages.

The A.C.E., Coast Guard and Harbor Patrol are monitoring the situation and will make announcements if they are forced to impose restrictions. 

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