LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — The New Orleans District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced on Thursday the launch of the Lower Mississippi River Comprehensive Management Study, a five-year, $25 million 'mega-study' that will yield recommendations for effective and practical management of the Mississippi River from Cape Girardeau, MO, to the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the USACE, the purpose of the study is 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 encompasses seven states: Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee – making the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) Comprehensive Management Study unprecedented in size and scope, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a press release.
“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 of the New Orleans District, in a press release.
“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," Jones said.
The study was authorized by the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) 2020, which directed the Army Corps of Engineers to develop recommendations for comprehensive management of the lower Mississippi River basin. WRDA 2022 mandated that the study be 100 percent 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.
The USACE said that 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.