Congress established the Mississippi River Commission (MRC) on June 28, 1879, with the mission to develop plans to improve the condition of the river, foster navigation, promote commerce, and prevent destructive floods—perhaps the most difficult and complex engineering problem ever undertaken by the federal government up to that time." In addition to its responsibilities for overseeing the improvement of the Mississippi River, the MRC gave Mississippi Valley interests a greater voice in inspection trips aboard the Motor Vessel Mississippi.
The membership of the MRC consists of three general officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (one serving as president); one member from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (formerly the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey); and three civilians, two of whom must be civil engineers. Since its creation, the presidential appointed MRC has retained this unique composition.
In its current capacity, the MRC prosecutes the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) project that was authorized through the historic 1928 flood control act. The MR&T project, a comprehensive plan for improving the river and portions of its tributaries between Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Head of Passes, La., is arguably the most successful civil works program ever initiated.
The continuing duties of the MRC include making recommendations on policy and work programs, studying and reporting on the need for modifications or additions to the MR&T, conducting public hearings, and making inspection trips along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The work of the MRC is directed by its president and carried out by six U.S. Army Corps of Engineer districts located in St. Paul, Minn., Rock Island, Ill, St. Louis, Mo., Memphis, Tenn., Vicksburg, Miss., and New Orleans, La.
The MRC statutory authorities are contained at 33 U.S.C. Sections 641-653a.
Maj. Gen. John W. Peabody, President Corps of Engineers Vicksburg, MS
Mr. Sam Angel Civilian Lake Village, AR
Mr. R. D. James Civilian/Civil Engineer New Madrid, MO
Dr. Norma Jean Mattei Civilian/Civil Engineer Metairie, LA
RDML Gerd F. Glang NOAA (Coast and Geodetic Survey) Silver Spring, MD
Brig. Gen. Margaret W. Burcham Corps of Engineers Cincinnati, OH
Brig. Gen. John Kem Corps of Engineers Portland, OR