The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District recently awarded five service contracts in Missouri and Arkansas to maintain and improve upon the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) Project.
The first contract was awarded to Hammok Flying Service, Inc. on Sept. 3 this year, to apply herbicide along the banks of various ditches not owned by USACE. This project will occur on multiple channels throughout Arkansas and Missouri.
USACE has significant maintenance requirements which are associated with the implementation of civil works projects. Part of those requirements involves the upkeep of drainage ditches, which are part of the MR&T’s St. Francis Basin Project, including periodic aerial brushkills.
There are several reasons for brushkills including: Helping reduce the amount of vegetation in and along the drainage channels, assisting with the maintenance of the channels, and helping prevent growth that would impede the flow of water.
"Such maintenance also reduces the chances of intermittent flooding by helping to maximize the volume of water carried by these drainage channels," Outreach Coordinator Brian Schneider explained.
Project Delivery Team (PDT) members are Project Manager Amber Jarnagin (with support from Project Manager Jairus Stroupe), Lead Civil Engineer Jack Ratliff, Contract Specialist Valerie Marshall, and Contract Specialist Chris White.
In partnership with the St. Francis Levee District of Arkansas and the City of West Memphis, Arkansas, the next awarded service contract was to John J. Yim and Associates, LLC, for appraisal and title services Sept. 18. Appraisal and title services are scheduled for Channel Mile 21.5 to Mile 25.6 near Edmondson, Arkansas.
"This task order includes the appraisal of approximately half of the tracts of land required for right-of-way acquisition to allow for the eventual channel enlargement of 15-Mile Bayou," Schneider said. "The enlargement of 15-Mile Bayou is part of a larger effort to increase drainage capacity in this region."
Schneider said the "15-Mile Bayou" is a drainage channel that serves as a stormwater collection conveyance for an area in East Arkansas.
"It serves to help drain part of the city of Edmondson, Arkansas," he added. "Item 3 refers to the task order item number. Task orders have numbers, and this award was for the appraisal of a specific item, ‘15 Mile Bayou, Item 3.’"
The PDT members for this service contract are Project Manager Charles Harris, Civil Engineer Bio Dambo, Realty Specialist John Wilburn, and Contract Specialist Kolbi Moore.
The third service contract was awarded Sept. 28 to BlueIce Engineering, LLC, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This contract is for the Big Lake North End Control Structure in Mississippi County, Arkansas. Work to be done consists of sensor repairs, gate sensor replacement, control sensor wiring, and adjusting the existing controls to ensure proper operation.
"The hydraulic structure is designed to regulate drainage flowing into two particular areas – Ditch 81 and the Big Lake Wildlife Refuge," Schneider said. "A screening system on the structure helps filter larger debris from a portion of the flow, which is then directed into the lake while the other part of the drainage (unfiltered) is diverted into Ditch 81. For years, based on the river's height, the diversion gate had to be operated manually. Therefore, no matter the time of day or night and even on the weekend, if the percentage of water being diverted had to be changed, a person had to travel out to the structure and manually take care of it.”
Now, Schneider added, with a remote sensor installed, the diversion gate will automatically direct flow to either side based on the height of the river that's transmitted by the sensor.
The members of the PDT for the third service contract are Project Manager Amber Jarnagin (with support from Project Manager Jairus Stroupe), Contract Specialist Chris White, Contract Specialist Kirk Middleton, Mechanical Engineer Daphlyn Koester, and Mechanical Engineer Robert Turnage.
Service Contract number four was awarded to Johnson McAdams Surveying and Mapping on Sept. 28 and will be conducted in various Arkansas and Missouri locations. The award is a St. Francis Basin Survey Task Order for future channel cleanouts. It is needed as USACE has major maintenance requirements over the MR&T St. Francis Basin Project drainage ditches.
"Over time, channels collect sediment and debris that restricts channel flow and leads to potential flooding," Schneider said. "Being proactive with cleanout and debris removal helps keep storm water runoff water within channel banks, which helps the entire system function as designed. Obtaining data from these surveys allows the Memphis District to analyze channel cross-sections and prioritize certain channel reaches in greatest need of maintenance."
The PDT members responsible for awarding this service contract are Project Manager Billy Grantham (with support from Project Manager Jairus Stroupe), Civil Engineer Jeff Gafford, Civil Engineer Chase Kesner, Civil Engineer Laurie Green, Civil Engineer Jon Korneliussen, Civil Engineer Bio Dambo, Civil Engineer Jeff Glass, Hydraulic Engineer Michael Lamport, Realty Specialist Torick Frison, Realty Specialist Bobby Porter, Realty Specialist John Green, Supervisory Realty Specialist Hugh Coleman.
The fifth and final service contract was awarded Sept. 18 to Johnson McAdams Surveying, and the partner was the St. Francis Levee District of Arkansas.
The task order is to survey five miles of Locust Creek in Lester, Arkansas, to gather data after completing a blockage removal project. This survey will allow for the analysis and design of an FY21 cleanout project award.
Members of the PDT responsible for executing this contract are Project Manager Amber Jarnagin (with support from Project Manager Jairus Stroupe), Tech Lead and Civil Engineer Laurie Green, Tech Lead and Civil Engineer Bio Dambo, Survey Specialist Steve Suber, and Supervisory Civil Engineer Gary Billingsley.
Maintaining navigation on the Mississippi River is one of the Corps' oldest missions, as river transportation remains the most cost-effective means to transport bulk commodities. These service contracts directly support this critical mission and are essential to maintaining the MR&T Project. Congratulations to each team for successfully executing each service contract and playing a pivotal role in our nation's thriving commerce.