U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, Maj. Gen. William (Butch) Graham and the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Army (Civil Works), Vance Stewart, stopped in West Memphis, Arkansas, where they were briefed by our St. Francis Levee District of Arkansas Partner Rob Rash, Memphis District Project Manager Jason Dickard, and Geotechnical Branch Chief Cory Williams on the Mississippi River Levee system.
The Mississippi River Levee system is the backbone of the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) Project. Since its inception in 1928, the project has prevented over $1.5 trillion in flood damages.
The system protects the vast expanse of the developed alluvial valley from periodic overflows of the Mississippi River. The main stem levee system begins at the head of the alluvial valley at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It continues to Venice, Louisiana, approximately 10 miles above the Head of Passes near the Gulf of Mexico.
The MR&T levee system includes 3,787 miles of authorized embankments and floodwalls. Of this number, nearly 2,216 miles are along the main stem Mississippi River, and the remaining levees are backwater, tributary, and floodway levees. No project levee built to Mississippi River Commission standards has ever failed, despite significant floods.
To further guarantee the levee system's soundness, levee districts and other local partners implement strict annual levee maintenance programs with their own labor and funds. Activities include mowing, clearing brush and trees, filling holes, restoring rain washed areas, clearing drainage ditches, correcting drainage problems, and spraying chemicals to control noxious and unwanted growth.
These tremendous benefits are not possible without our partners. During their tour of the Mississippi River Levees in the Memphis District, Stewart, Graham, Memphis District Commander Col. Zachary Miller, and Programs and Project Management Deputy District Engineer Donny Davidson awarded Outstanding Maintenance Awards for the Mississippi River Levee system and the St. Francis Levee system to Rob Rash of the St. Francis Levee District of Arkansas.
This is the 47th consecutive year (through 2020) the St. Francis Levee District of Arkansas has received the Outstanding Maintenance Award for its St. Francis River levees. The Levee District has received this award continuously since 1973.
Additionally, the St. Francis Levee District of Arkansas received the Outstanding Maintenance Award for its portion of the mainline Mississippi River levees. This is the 63rd consecutive year (through 2020) the St. Francis Levee District has received this award.
Congratulations and thank you to our St. Francis Levee District partner for keeping America safe from devastating floods. This district is a vital and reliable partner in making the MR&T project and overall flood protection system a success, protecting millions from flood waters each and every year.