Mississippi River Commission Sets Schedule For Public Meetings
The Mississippi River Commission (MRC) has announced the schedule for its annual low-water inspection trip on the Mississippi River. Four public meetings will be held aboard the mv. Mississippi in select towns between August 23 and 27. Commission members will meet with local partners, stakeholders and residents and hear their concerns, ideas and issues.
The meeting schedule is as follows:
August 23—Caruthersville, Mo. (city front)
August 24—Memphis, Tenn. (Beale Street Landing)
August 25—Greenville, Miss. (city front)
August 27—Morgan City, La. (port commission dock)
All meetings will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Interested parties are invited to present their views on matters affecting the water resources infrastructure needs in the Mississippi Valley, including flood control, the Mississippi River and Tributaries project and other water resources challenges.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the commission will limit the audience in the hearing room to 80 people during the public hearings. Members of the public who wish to address the commission in person are encouraged to pre-register at https://mvd.usace.afpims.mil/About/Mississippi-River-Commission-MRC/.
Those who do not wish to attend in person can send testimony for the public record via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The commission will accept testimonies for the record until 5 p.m. (CDT) on August 28, 2020.
All meetings will be video recorded and posted to the MRC webpage and to each local Corps district’s webpage.
The agenda for each public meeting is as follows:
1. Maj. Gen. Diana Holland, commander of the Mississippi Valley Engineer Division, provides a summary report on national and regional issues affecting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and commission programs and projects on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
2. The commander of the local Corps district provides an overview for the commission on current project issues in the respective area.
3. Local organizations and members of the public provide comments on issues affecting the commission and the Corps of Engineers programs and projects.
The Mississippi River Commission, established in 1879, is composed of seven members, each nominated by the president of the United States and vetted by the Senate. Three of the organization’s members are officers of the Corps of Engineers; one member is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and three members are civilians, two of whom are civil engineers.
The general duties of the MRC include recommending policy and work programs, studying and reporting on the necessity for modifications or additions to the flood control and navigation project and conducting semi-annual inspection trips. The authority of the commission extends the length of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to Head of Passes, La.
Public Tours, Open House
Before the public meetings, the public will have the chance to tour the mv. Mississippi, the flagship of the Corps’ fleet, at three events in early August.
The 241- by 58-foot, 6,300 hp. mv. Mississippi houses 22 staterooms, a dining room that seats 85 and a conference room that seats 115 people. Still, it serves as a working towboat 90 percent of the time, moving barges in support of bank stabilization work on the Lower Mississippi River. In addition, each spring and late summer, the MRC conducts a series of public meetings aboard the vessel.
The St. Louis Engineer District will provide two opportunities for free public tours aboard the mv. Mississippi, from 1–4 p.m. August 6 along the riverfront at Cape Girardeau, Mo., and from 2–5 p.m. August 7 at Melvin Price Locks and Dam in Alton, Ill.
For safety and COVID-19 concerns, groups will be limited to 10 with a maximum limit of 80 visitors allowed onboard at any time while all will be required to wear a mask, and temperature checks may be required.
The Rock Island Engineer District will host an open house aboard the mv. Mississippi from 1–5 p.m. August 10 at River Heritage Park in Davenport, Iowa.
The open house is free to the public and will include a walking tour of the vessel and a chance to view STEM-related exhibits about Rock Island District missions. No registration is needed to participate, but attendees are advised to bring a valid photo ID and be prepared for a security check before boarding. Due to COVID-19 precautions, a limited number of people will be permitted on the vessel in a rotational format during the open house. Social distancing measures will be in place, and face masks will be required while onboard.