VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS); U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mississippi Valley Division; and USACE Vicksburg District hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for a pilot Groundwater Transfer and Injection Project near Shellmound, Mississippi, June 8.
The ceremony was held at the project site and included remarks from Archie Tucker, USDA-ARS, Southeast Area Director; Maj. Gen. Diana Holland, USACE Mississippi Valley Division Commanding General; Col. Robert Hilliard, USACE Vicksburg District Commander; Chris Wells, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Executive Director and Governor's Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force; Dr. Daniel Wren, USDA-ARS, Civil Engineer; and Dr. James R. Rigby, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
“We are thankful to Congress for the generous funding of the GTIP,” said Tucker. “If found successful, this pilot project will be a model to be emulated in other areas of the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer (MRVAA). USDA-ARS scientists at the National Sedimentation Laboratory worked with USGS and others to conduct a study and select a pilot site which pumps groundwater near the Tallahatchie River approximately two miles to an injection site at the edge of the cone of depression in the MRVAA.”
The project is intended to determine if managed aquifer recharge can be an environmentally and hydrologically sustainable technology for increasing water levels and volume stored in the MRVAA in the Mississippi Delta. USDA-ARS plans to operate the wells for six-to-nine months to collect data during the project’s research phase.
The project was initiated and developed in conjunction with the State of Mississippi Governor’s Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force, an interagency collaboration between the USDA-ARS, USACE, MDEQ, USGS, Yazoo Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District, Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, USDA – Natural Resource Conservation Service, Delta Council, and Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management to address the sustainability of pumping withdrawals in the MRVAA.
“The success of this project wouldn’t have been possible without the diligent efforts of USDA-ARS, our USACE team members and interagency partners,” said Hilliard. “We look forward to seeing the research findings of this pilot program and continuing this partnership to provide high-quality water resources management services to the region.”
USACE assisted with the project’s construction, real estate, and environmental design and worked with the USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory to develop the project’s proof of concept which provided the project’s funding.
The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.