Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and the barge industry are imploring the federal government to keep water flowing on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers or face potential "economic disaster."
The nearly year-long drought has left many waterways at historic lows. Nixon sent a letter Friday urging the Army Corps of Engineers to rethink plans to stop the release of water from the Missouri's upstream reservoirs beginning December 1.
That would also reduce flow on the Mississippi since the Missouri merges into the Mississippi.
The Corps said it planned to reduce the amount of water it releases out of Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border to the minimum of 12,000 cubic feet per second in late November.
In a normal winter, about 17,000 CFS is typically released from the dam. During the last two winters, releases ranged between 19,000 and 22,000 CFS.
Nixon says the move could create an "economic disaster." Meanwhile, the American Waterways Operators and Waterways Council last week urged Congress and President Barack Obama to act to keep the water flowing.
Messages left with the Corps were not immediately returned.