The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake, along with Jefferson County Sheriff Travis Allen and Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones established a framework of cooperation among the agencies when they signed a Memorandum of Understanding Wednesday, May 18, at Rend Lake.
This partnership enables Jefferson County and Franklin County Sheriff’s Departments to carry out essential public safety operations, programs, and projects that benefit each partner as well as visitors to Rend Lake. Partnerships like these are essential in allowing the Corps of Engineers to provide quality outdoor public recreation experiences to the public, while managing and conserving our natural resources.
Allen reminisced about working at Rend Lake while he was a student in college and reflected on the honor it is to serve the community as a law enforcement officer.
“Agreements like these are very important,” Col. Anthony Mitchell, commander of the St. Louis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. “With this partnership, it allows our rangers to focus on providing the resource to the public,” said Mitchell. “It allows us to make Rend Lake a recreation place of choice.”
Rend Lake is a 19,000-acre lake that serves as a destination spot for more than 3 million visitors each year. The lake has 40,000 acres of public land and water including 27 boat ramps and more than 750 campsites.
Staff at Rend Lake and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are developing a Civilian Inmate Labor Plan that would allow inmates to work on projects at the lake. This program will provide a source of labor at no direct labor cost to USACE Civil Works projects and accomplish tasks that would not be possible otherwise due to staffing and funding constraints.
Partnerships are imperative to the success of Rend Lake and USACE projects, sharing resources, time, and a commitment to the project.
“Without the support and dedication of our partners, this project would not be what we see here today,” said Mitchell.