Leaders hope more funding will help protect the Mississippi River and the commerce tied to it.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Mayors from cities along the Mississippi River are calling on Congress to increase funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for infrastructure improvements and dredging projects that keep commerce flowing on the waterway.

Leaders of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative and the Delta Regional Authority addressed media Thursday after meeting in Memphis to discuss the Mississippi River economy.

River ports have dealt with flooding and drought since 2011, causing water levels to reach near-record highs and hazardous lows in a span of months.

Mayor Larry Brown of Natchez, Miss., said the Corps does all it can to maintain river commerce, but it does not get enough congressional funding to deal with dredging and infrastructure problems. Some ports relied on local funding for dredging projects in recent years.