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An Army Corps of Engineers official says infrastructure improvements are needed in the Mississippi River watershed to allow inland waterways to better handle increased agriculture, oil and natural gas production and the effects of climate change.

Brig. Gen. Peter A. DeLuca, commander of the corps' Mississippi Valley Division, spoke Tuesday at a public meeting on the Motor Vessel Mississippi in Memphis. The meeting was part of a low-water inspection trip that included a stop in Caruthersville, Missouri, on Monday.

DeLuca says more farming and manufacturing in the Mississippi Valley, plus a national rise in natural gas and oil production, are creating a higher demand for freight and materials shipping along the nation's inland waterways.

The Mississippi Watershed covers 41 percent of the country, including 31 states and 250 tributaries.

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