VICKSBURG, Miss., July 18, 2017 -- The Mississippi River Commission (MRC) will conduct its annual low-water inspection trip on the Mississippi River Aug. 7-18, 2017.
Four public meetings have been scheduled aboard the Motor Vessel MISSISSIPPI in selected towns along the river so commission members have the opportunity to meet with local partners, stakeholders and residents to hear their concerns, ideas and issues. The meeting places, dates and times are as follows:
• Aug. 7 9 a.m. Cape Girardeau, Missouri (City Front)
• Aug. 9 9 a.m. Memphis, Tennessee (Beale Street Landing)
• Aug. 11 9 a.m. Vicksburg, Mississippi (City Front)
• Aug. 18 9 a.m. Houma, Louisiana (CENAC Towing Company Port)
This year, the commission will also travel down the Red River during the second week, making additional stops in Louisiana at Shreveport, Natchitoches and Alexandria. An open house will be held Wednesday, Aug. 16, from 9-11 a.m. at the Central Louisiana Regional Port in Alexandria.
All meetings are open to the public. Interested parties are invited to present views on matters affecting the water resources infrastructure needs in the valley, including flood control, the Mississippi River and Tributaries project, environmental issues, recreation, navigation and others.
The agenda for each public meeting will be as follows:
1. The president of the commission provides a summary report on national and regional issues affecting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and commission programs and projects on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
2. The district commander provides an overview for the commission on current project issues in the respective area.
3. Local organizations and members of the public provide comments on any issue affecting the commission and the Corps of Engineers’ programs or projects.
The MRC, established in 1879, is composed of seven members, each nominated by the President of the United States and vetted by the Senate. Three of the organization's members are officers of the Corps of Engineers; one member is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and three members are civilians, two of whom are civil engineers.
General duties of the commission include recommending policy and work programs, studying and reporting on the necessity for modifications or additions to the flood control and navigation project and conducting semi-annual inspection trips. The authority of the commission extends the entire length of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to Head of Passes, Louisiana, where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
The purpose of the public meetings is to maintain a dialogue between the watershed interests, the public and the Corps. Presentations by the public are made orally, and a copy of the remarks is presented to the commission for the official record and written response.
The public hearing process is unique to the MRC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The benefits of hearing the issues and concerns first hand through the public hearing process are invaluable to the commission and the Corps. Also, the interaction with congressional, federal and state interests, local boards and non-government organizations and the public is crucial to the decision-making process for the nation’s water resources.
Since 1879, the seven-member Presidentially appointed MRC has developed and matured plans for the general improvement of the Mississippi River from the Head of Passes to the Headwaters. The MRC brings critical engineering representation to the drainage basin, which impacts 41 percent of the United States and includes 1.25 million square miles, over 250 tributaries, 31 states and two Canadian provinces.
Release no. 17-056