The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works mission is varied and wide-ranging. Its multi-purpose projects provide benefits for navigation, flood risk management, hydropower production, fish and wildlife, environmental stewardship, recreation, irrigation and municipal water supply.
The Mississippi Valley Division’s navigation responsibilities include planning and constructing navigation channels, locks and dams, and dredging to maintain channel depths of the harbors and inland waterways within its 370,000-square-mile boundary. The division operates and maintains 4,200+ miles of navigable channels, 59 locks, 51 shallow-draft ports and seven deep-draft ports. In partnership with local port authorities, MVD personnel oversee dredging and construction projects at numerous ports and harbors.
Flood Risk Management
Reducing risk and preventing flood-related damages can be accomplished by several means — through structural measures, such as reservoirs, levees, channels, and floodwalls that modify the characteristics of floods; or with non-structural measures, such as flood plain evacuation, floodproofing, and floodway acquisitions that alter the way people use these areas and reduce the susceptibility of human activities to flood risk.
Because of hydropower’s significant advantages over other energy sources — clean, efficient, reliable, and renewable — it plays an increasingly important role in meeting the Nation's energy needs.
Since the 1970s, the Corps’ environmental efforts have grown and evolved from simply protecting fish, wildlife and plant species to a focus on recovering their numbers to become sustainable. The Corps partners with state and federal agencies to expand the scientific knowledge base of the natural environment and evaluate how activities within a watershed may affect protected species. Structural modifications to dams and powerhouses along with changes to river system operations are used to ensure the right things are done for the environment.
The Corps is one of the federal government’s largest providers of outdoor recreational opportunities. The Mississippi Valley Division operates more than 400 recreational sites at its lakes and projects, logging more than 54 million visitors per year and bringing more than $3 billion cumulative value to local economies. The division has 9,500+ camp sites, 33 lakes and 14 visitor centers. Educational and volunteer programs help visitors appreciate the need for conscientious environmental stewardship of the 2 million acres of land and water in our jurisdiction.
The mission of the Corps’ regulatory program is to protect the Nation's waters for current and future generations, while allowing for reasonable economic development. Regulatory efforts protect a wide variety of aquatic resources, including wetlands, rivers, streams, tidal waters, coral reefs, shellfish beds, and the oceans. Our permit process is designed to minimize environmental impacts of construction and dredging activities in U.S. waters and to ensure that such efforts are thoughtful and coordinated.
Engineering and Construction
The Engineering and Construction Division (E&C) provides engineering and architectural analysis, designs and services for the construction, operations, maintenance and remediation of a wide range of water resource, infrastructure and military projects to our customers, partners and stakeholders. The E&C Division is also responsible for all construction program requirements, including contract administration, quality assurance, construction management and technical services.
Mississippi River Science and Technology
By leveraging the expertise in the six Mississippi River Districts and the Engineer Research and Development Center, the Mississippi Valley Division seeks to serve as a "focal point" and coordination center for the science and knowledge transfer associated with the Mississippi River, including topics such as sediment transport and potamology, and linkages with stream ecology. Current investigations include coordinating sediment transport field investigations and modeling efforts and supporting pallid sturgeon assessments in the lower river.
Mississippi River & Tributaries Project
The Mississippi River and Tributaries project was authorized by the 1928 Flood Control Act. In the wake of the devastating 1927 flood, it was deemed necessary to put into place a comprehensive, unified system of public works within the lower Mississippi Valley that would provide unprecedented flood risk management and an equally efficient navigation channel.