|Mississippi River Commission conducting a tour of region |
|Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:00 pm |
By KEVIN BOWDEN
It is the goal of the Mis-sissippi River Commission to oversee flood management along the lower Mississippi River. In order to get an accurate and thorough assessment of the world’s largest inland water system, the commission is conducting a four-day tour of the region that began Monday morning in Lake County and will end Friday in New Orleans.
The commission is con-ducting a high-water in-spection trip aboard the motor vessel Mississippi, with meetings scheduled each day of the four-day trip.
More than 100 officials from across four states — Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois — turned out for Monday’s 31⁄2-hour meeting on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Monday’s meeting began with a 45-minute presentation by Maj. Gen. John Peabody and Col. Vernie Reichling Jr.
The rest of the meeting was taken up by 15 different officials who expressed everything from praise for the corps to condemnation of specific corps projects.
Lake County Mayor Macie Roberson was the first to address the Mississippi River Commission and he outlined a list of projects in Lake County that need to be handled by the corps.
Roberson sat next to Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire at the meeting.
Others that stepped up to the podium in front of the six commission members represented Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois interests. Among those from this area were Fulton County (Ky.) Levee Board chairman David Weatherly and Hickman-Fulton County (Ky.) Riverport administrative assistant Amy Wil-liamson.
A Union City resident, Mrs. Williamson received some very good news from the commission at Monday’s meeting. It was announced at the meeting that funds have been designated to dredge all 10 Mississippi River harbors in the corps’ Memphis district this year.
“We are definitely pleased to hear they have the money allocated to dredge all 10 harbors,” Mrs. Williamson told The Messenger today.
State Agriculture Com-missioner Julius Johnson also met before the commission to stress the importance agriculture plays in the lower Mississippi River region. He called for the restoration of the levee system as well as support of the West Tennessee tributaries project.
“The importance of maintaining access to markets for agricultural commodities via the Mississippi River cannot be overstated,” Johnson said. “The recent funding and development of the deep sea port at Cates Landing, for example, will undoubtedly provide Tennessee farmers and agribusinesses with a significant competitive advantage in the world market.”
At the conclusion of the meeting it was Peabody who made the statement, “We are facing some significant challenges,” and cited congressional funding for the corps’ work in the Memphis district.
The Mississippi River Commission was established in 1879 and is made up of seven members, who are appointed by the president and are confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Members of the commission include Peabody, Brig. Gen. Margaret Burcham and Brig. Gen. John McMahon, all representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineeers; Rear Admiral Jonathan Bailey representing the National Oceanographic and Atmosphere Admini-stration; and civilians Sam Angel, R.D. James and William Clifford Smith. James and Smith are civil engineers.
Published in The Messenger 3.27.12