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, division 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 850 recreational sites at its lakes and projects, logging more than 47 million visitors per year and bringing more than $1.6 million in visitor spending. The division has 12,000+ camp sites, 3,400+ picnic sites and 422 boat ramps. 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.