VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – A drought and low water levels are affecting travel for cargo ships and river boat tours making stops on the Mississippi River.

Water levels for the Mississippi River in Vicksburg are 10 to 15-feet lower than normal, and barges are stuck in low areas.

Richie McComas, Navigation and Dredging Program Manager for the Mississippi Valley Division Corps of Engineers, said it’s critical to get rain in the upper Mississippi River Valley and Ohio River area.

He said they have dredges all across the Mississippi River to help ships reach their destinations.

“What we’re doing to help the barges, the barges come down the river is for dredging. We have eight dredges work in this low water emergency right now up and down the Mississippi River. And, you know, we have teams that meet and come up with the problem, figure out which worst area to go to,” McComas explained.

He said their mission is to maintain a channel to help boats move up and down stream.