VICKSBURG, MISS., January 12, 2017 – President Barack Obama recently appointed Brigadier General Mark Toy as a member of the Mississippi River Commission. MRC appointments are nominated by the President of the United States and vetted by the U.S. Senate.
Toy is commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The division has seven engineer districts totaling over 4,100 people operating in a seventeen state area and is charged with directing federal water resource development in the Great Lakes and Ohio River basins with infrastructure valued at over $80 billion. With an annual operating and construction budget exceeding $2 billion, missions include planning, construction and operations of navigation structures and flood damage reduction, hydropower, environmental restoration, water conservation, recreation and disaster assistance.
The division also executes military construction in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan with design and construction of barracks, hospitals, airfields and family housing on military installations.
Toy is from Huntington Beach, Calif. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in operations research. He also holds three master’s degrees: in business administration from Boston University (1991), in environmental engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles (1996), and in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (2010). Toy is a registered professional engineer in the states of Arizona and Virginia.
The Mississippi River Commission was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1879, to plan and provide for the general improvement of the entire length of the Mississippi River. This includes improving navigation, preventing destructive floods and facilitating commerce. The presidential appointees consist of three officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and three civilians, two of whom must be civil engineers.
The commission itself is an advisory body. Its general duties include recommending policy and work programs, studying and reporting on modifications or changes to the Mississippi River and Tributaries project, commenting on matters authorized by law, making inspection trips, and holding public hearings that facilitate exchanges of viewpoints and ideas between the public and the MRC. Since 1879 the commission has been “listening, inspecting and partnering” with water resource interests in a watershed that is influenced by the drainage of more than 41 percent of the United States and two provinces of Canada.