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NOAA to dedicate historic benchmark on Mud Island River Walk Tuesday

Published Aug. 15, 2007

Memphis, Tenn., August 15, 2007 – Senior officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration and the Mississippi River Commission will partner with the Mud Island River Park in
Memphis, Tennessee, to place a historic marker here commemorating the agency’s 200th anniversary
and its unique relationship with the Mississippi River.

Mr. David Zilkoski, director of NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey and Rear Adm. Samuel P.
De Bow, Jr., director of NOAA’s Marine and Aviation Operations and a Mississippi River Commission
(MRC) member, will present a commemorative, functioning survey marker (see illustration) to the
MRC. Brig. Gen. Robert Crear, MRC president. Gen. Crear will in turn install the marker for permanent
display on the River Walk at Mud Island. NOAA is the successor agency to the former U.S. Coast and
Geodetic Survey who began the first surveys of the Mississippi River.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place August 21 at 7:45 a.m. on Mud Island’s River Walk,
just prior to the MRC’s 9:00 a.m. public meeting aboard the motor vessel Mississippi at North Mud

“In many respects, the river model at Mud Island is a manifestation of the Great Mississippi
River Survey,” said Gen. Crear. “I cannot think of a better place for us to dedicate this marker.”

For more than 36 years, the triangulation and precise leveling parties from the Coast and
Geodetic Survey and then the Mississippi River Commission determined the location and elevation of
geographic points along the river, followed by surveying parties that mapped shorelines, islands, and
sand bars all in effort to study the river and further the field of knowledge on the river. “The river model at Mud Island continues that very pursuit—to broaden our knowledge of the formation, history, and cultures associated with the Mississippi River,” said Crear.

The public is invited to the ceremony, which is expected to last about 30 minutes.

For more information on NOAA, please consult: http://celebrating

For more information on the MRC at


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Release no. 07-15