Dubuque County officials concerned with low water levels in Mississippi River

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The lack of rain the tri-state area has received this year is keeping the Mississippi River below normal., which is having an effect on people who use the river for recreation in the summer.

Dubuque, right next to the Mississippi River, has seen less than nine inches of rain in 2021. That is down more than six inches from what it normally would have received by now.

Brian Preston, director of the Dubuque County Conservation Department, said this means they will have to get to work soon to address this.

“We are having some access issues with some of our boat ramps and we will need to do some work this summer to make sure that people continue to have access to the Mississippi River,” he explained.

Preston said there are large amounts of sediment in the system right now and, even though they dredged some of these areas last year, that sediment is working itself back in. He added the low water levels make sediment more of an issue now, which is why they need to dredge the area again.

“Use caution; we have had some people run aground already this year,” Preston mentioned. “The water levels are much lower than they are used to being over the past, probably, decade.”

The department director said he sees it unlikely that water levels in the river could rise up to normal numbers this year, regardless of whether it rains more or not.

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