By The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Pat Quinn is joining Missouri's governor in asking the federal government to keep enough water flowing down the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to allow barges to carry goods to market.
Quinn sent a letter Wednesday to the Army's assistant secretary saying levels on the Mississippi between Cairo and St. Louis are critically low. He also says Illinois is ready to help the Army Corps of Engineers "fast-track'' dredging and rock-clearing to help the flow.
Current corps plans would reduce the amount of water released from the Missouri's upstream reservoirs starting next week.
The corps says the reduction is the first of several conservation measures necessary if drought conditions persist into 2013.
The Mississippi was at just over 9 feet in St. Louis on Monday, 16 feet below flood stage.