Navigation Highlights


Also part of our navigation responsibilities, we are responsible for maintenance dredging of ten harbors on the Mississippi River. These harbors serve as vital links to rail and highway transportation systems in the region, helping to deliver products and commodities to and from global markets.

These harbors include:

  • Elvis Stahr Harbor - Hickman, Kentucky
  • Osceola Harbor - Arkansas
  • Wolf River Harbor - Tennessee
  • New Madrid County Harbor - Missouri
  • New Madrid City Harbor - Missouri
  • Helena Harbor - Phillips County, Arkansas
  • Memphis Harbor - McKellar Lake, Tennessee
  • Caruthersville Harbor - Missouri
  • Helena Harbor - Arkansas
  • Northwest Tennessee Harbor - Tiptonville, Tennessee

Navigation Mission

Navigation is one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' oldest missions and for the Memphis District, the mission revolves around the Mississippi River. Representing 500 million tons of shipped goods per year (according to the Port of New Orleans), the Mississippi River barge port system is significant to national trade – this is just one of the reasons why ensuring a safe and navigable river year around is a top priority. Bottom line, the Mississippi River is important, but just how important is it?  

If the United States discontinued waterways’ shipping…

  • About 75 percent of what used to be river-transport cargo would now be transported by truck and/or rail, which causes more than just one problem: more traffic and more pollution. See below for more details.
    • It would take 1,050 semi-trucks (and occupy space on U.S. highways by the way) to transport the same amount of freight that ONE standard river tow could move on the river. And if not by truck, it would take 216 rail cars and six locomotives (and a very long time at the tracks waiting for the train to pass).
  • Americans (more than half) would see a huge spike in their electric bill – we’re talking more than the regular average increase every year – like more than 7 percent, a lot more.
  • Shipping/handling costs would increase drastically – and guess who ultimately pays for it? The consumer.... i.e. you

The aforementioned are just a few reasons why we take the navigation mission as seriously as we do. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Memphis District are committed to providing the river industry with the safest, most reliable, and the most cost-efficient method for the transportation of commercial goods available today.

Navigable Waters within the Memphis District

Waterway State Head of Navigation Miles above Mouth
Bayou LaGrue AR LaGrue Spring 12
Blackfish Bayou AR Mouth of 15-Mile Bayou 6
Forked Deer River TN Junction of North & South Forks 25
North Fork Forked Deer River TN Dyersburg, TN 6
South Fork Forked Deer River TN Jackson, TN 94
Hatchie River TN Bolivar, TN 140
L'Anguille River AR Marianna, AR 8.8
Little River AR Marked Tree, AR 2
Mississippi River AR, MS,
Not in MVM (Bemidji, MN) 599 to 954
Obion River TN Obion, TN 69.1
St. Francis River AR-MO Wappapello, MO 338
Tyronza River AR Two miles above the cutoff of Big Creek 22
White River AR-MO Newport, AR 255
Wolf River TN Memphis (Raleigh), TN 15
Roc Roe Bayou AR   Entire Length

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