Please accept the LINKED attachments and clarifying language below to highlight recent high-level engagements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
1. Mississippi River Commission letter of response from Major General Diana Holland as the U.S. Army President of the Mississippi River Commission. The response was offered after testimony I was able to present before the Mississippi River Commission aboard the M/V MISSSISSIPPI at the Port of New Orleans on April 15, 2021. That testimony referenced the importance of the Commission’s mission to protect and promote navigation commerce on the Mississippi River and Tributaries project. The response includes mentions of Section 106 from the Water Resources and Development Act of 2020 (WRDA 2020) that provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) the authority to dredge within Coast Guard anchorages.
“SEC. 106. COAST GUARD ANCHORAGES:
The Secretary may perform dredging at Federal expense within and adjacent to anchorages established by the Coast Guard pursuant to existing authorities.”
“Thank you for your testimony to the Mississippi River Commission during our recent meeting in New Orleans on April 15th , 2021. The Commission’s mission of providing water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the Administration, Congress, and the Army to facilitate sustainable management and development of water-related resources on the Mississippi River and Tributaries System (MR&T) is greatly enabled by the testimony provided by our stakeholders and partners at our inspection trips and public meetings. Your testimony and personal engagement help us gain a better understanding of the conditions and challenges that are unique to your experience with the river. Your efforts contribute to ensuring that the MR&T system continues to function effectively for the nation’s benefit and the people’s well-being.
The Commission could not agree with you more on the importance of the Mississippi River navigation project to the national economy as well as to international trade. It truly is the critical connection between America’s heartland and the world. Its vital role in supporting and sustaining strong local, regional, and national economies requires a national commitment to ensure that it continues to provide safe, reliable, and efficient transportation. The need to secure sufficient operation and maintenance resources will continue to increase as global markets and competition on our waterways continues to expand.”…
2. The second attachment details a request the Big River Coalition developed and proposed as a way for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement Section 106 of the WRDA 2020 on the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC). This letter was presented to Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon and other leaders from the USACE in March and then was subsequently shared with members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation and other members of Congress that represent states or districts along the Mississippi River and Tributaries project. The Coalition worked with our each of the Pilot Associations on the MRSC in order develop or prioritized list for anchorages that could benefit if the authority give in Section 106 could be implemented by increased appropriations to the USACE.
3. The final attachment was previously shared but the continuance of the progress from the Regional Dredge Demonstration Program is important and our members are encouraged to include these efforts in their Congressional requests. The continuance of the progress from the RDDP is critical to efforts to deepen and maintain the Mississippi River Ship Channel. Please review the attachment for complete details.