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Mississippi River Commission Says Less Money Means Less Dredging

Posted on April 6, 2017

By Leah Shields and Jason Thomason, WPSD Local

Mississippi River Commission held its annual town hall meeting Monday. We learned why problems at the Hickman Fulton County Riverport Authority may not be fixed anytime soon.

MRC spokesman Jim Pogue says, this year, the commission’s budget is tight.

“Some years, we get funding to dredge in all 10 Memphis District harbors, but this year we only got funding to do six,” Pogue explained.

Hickman Fulton County Riverport Authority Director Greg Curlin says an area in the river has turned into an island.

“It keeps growing,” he said. “We’ve looked at it, and currently it’s grown about 350 feet during the last 20 years.”

The growth is slowing down traffic on the river, and the problem isn’t new.

“This is a longstanding problem,” MRC member R.D. James said. “It didn’t just pop up but now. It’s gotten critical for the boats coming in.” James is from Hickman, and he remembers when he could see straight across the river to Missouri.

“It just keeps extending, and that’s the problem,” James said of land in the middle of the river.

Like many others, Curlin spoke up to let people know why his port needs the money.

“It’s a tough decision on who needs the dredging the most,” said Pogue.

In Hickman, their need for dredging is easy to see, while the other side of the river isn’t.

Source: WPSD Local

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