Dredging and Marine Construction

Corps Seeks Comments On Draft SEIS For Mississippi River Mainline Levees

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Mississippi River mainline levees (MRL) that make up the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) Project.

The draft SEIS is an update to the final EIS for the project, which dates to 1976, and an earlier SEIS, which dates to 1998.

The draft SEIS was a collaborative effort by the Corps’ Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts, which “collectively identified a total of 143 additional Work Items along various reaches of the Mississippi River mainline levees feature of the MR&T project.” The so-called “Work Items” are measures needed to address levee seepage and to “raise and stabilize deficient sections of the existing levees and flood walls to maintain the structural integrity and stability of the MRL system.” The Corps estimates the cost for the entire list of levee improvements to be about $2 billion.

According to the Corps, levee issues addressed in the draft SEIS are located in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. The report covers a handful of levee reaches on the Ohio River, with the other deficient reaches occurring on the Mississippi River. In total, 35 items are located within the area of responsibility of the Memphis Engineer District, 17 within the Vicksburg Engineer District, and 92 within the New Orleans Engineer District. The Corps will use close to 4 million cubic yards of dredged or fill material to accomplish work outlined in the draft SEIS.

As part of the draft SEIS, the Corps has provided a map of each Work Item, including the borrow area for additional levee material, where applicable, along with alternative options.

The Work Items contained in the draft SEIS are meant to help the Corps achieve the main goals for the MR&T Project, namely to reduce the risk of flooding from the Project Design Flood and for the MR&T to be environmentally sustainable.

The draft SEIS is accessible through the Vicksburg District’s website at www.mvk.usace.army.mil/MRLSEIS.

With ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19, the Corps will host virtual public meetings on the draft supplemental EIS, during which the agency will also receive verbal public comments. Dates, times and meeting access details are to be announced. The Corps will also accept written comments through October 13. Written comments should be sent by email to MRL-SEIS-2@usace.army.mil or by mail to: District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District, 4155 Clay St., Vicksburg, MS 39138-3435.

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