Corps Launches Lower Miss 'Mega-study'

June 22, 2023

© Aneese / Adobe Stock
© Aneese / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is kicking off a five-year, $25 million "mega-study" with the goal to help guide effective and practical management of the Lower Mississippi River.

The Corps said the the study will help it to identify recommendations for the comprehensive management of the region across multiple purposes, including hurricane and storm damage reduction, flood risk management, structure and nonstructural flood control, floodplain management strategies, navigation, ecosystem and environmental restoration, water supply, hydropower production, recreation and other purposes as determined by the Secretary of the Army.  

The study area runs from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to the Gulf of Mexico, encompassing seven states: Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, which according to the Corps, makes the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) Comprehensive Management Study unprecedented in size and scope.

“This study provides the opportunity to consider this critical flood risk management system and identify what, if any, opportunities, and modifications are needed to account for the change in river dynamics as well as the needs of the Nation over the last century,” said Col. Cullen Jones, commander, USACE New Orleans District. “The Mississippi River is the nation’s most important waterway and one of the world’s most important natural resources. We are committed to ensuring it remains so in the future.”

This study was authorized by the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) 2020, which directed the Corps to develop recommendations for comprehensive management of the lower Mississippi River basin. WRDA 2022 mandated that the study be 100% federally funded.

Per the implementation guidance from WRDA 2020 the New Orleans District commander will lead the study supported by personnel from four USACE districts within the Mississippi Valley Division: New Orleans District, Vicksburg District, Memphis District, and St. Louis District.

Due to the size and scope of the study, active participation and collaboration from the public and stakeholders throughout the five-year endeavor will be critical to identifying practical and sustainable recommendations for successful management of the river, the Corps said.

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