Low Water Limits Recreational Use of Kanawha, Ohio River Locks

Charleston Gazette
26 June 2012
By Staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Recreational boat lockage will be limited on the Kanawha River because of low water levels, according to Chuck Minsker, spokesman for the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Navigation locks in Marmet, London and Winfield will lock recreational craft only during even-numbered hours until weather permits, according to Minsker.

"How long this will last really just depends on the weather. If we get a lot of rain, we can lift it," he said. "This is a precaution we have to take in order to conserve the water resources we have."

Industrial vessels take first priority, he said.

"We're trying to get the word out to our boaters," Minsker said. "Big tows are always first in line, so they're used to waiting anyways -- they just may be waiting a little longer than usual."

Recreational use also will be limited on the Ohio River, affecting locks in Racine, Gallipolis and Belleville. The Mehldahl and Willow Island locks in Ohio will be affected, as well.

"This is relatively unusual," Minsker said. "These locks are in place to maintain the navigation pools, and when we go through a dry period like this, we want to release as little water as possible while still keeping traffic moving on the river."