August 5, 2015 – Today, President Barack Obama appointed Maj. Gen. Michael C. Wehr as president of the Mississippi River Commission. MRC appointments are nominated by the President of the United States and vetted by the U.S. Senate.
Wehr assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division in August 2014, and led his first Mississippi River Commission inspection trip along the Mississippi River in March 2015.
As the commander and division engineer for the Mississippi Valley Division, Wehr directs all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water resources development in the Mississippi River basin, an area of more than 370,000 square miles, including all or parts of 12 states.
Wehr graduated from the University of Santa Clara in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He also holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, was a Senior Service College Fellow at the Senior Service College Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College. He is registered professional engineer in Virginia.
His military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Bronze Star Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Ranger Tab and the Sapper Tab.
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.