In early May, the Army Corps of Engineers released its draft proposal outlining its plan for navigation improvements to the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers.
The preferred plan, presented in the draft “Upper Mississippi River-Illinois Waterways System Navigation Feasibility Study and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” report, includes $5.3 billion for ecosystem restoration and $2.4 billion for navigation improvements. If approved, the plan will be implemented in phases with future checkpoints for the administration and Congress.
The plan includes the immediate implementation of non-structural and small-scale structural navigation measures and pre-construction engineering and design of seven new locks, with intiation of construction subject to congressional review.
Public meetings on the proposal will be held in June and the final report will be released later this year. A report containing the final recommendations will be prepared this fall for review by the administration and submission to Congress.
“Considering the ever-aging river navigation system, the elaborate ecosystems, and the continued stress placed on these significant American rivers, we believe our preferred plan will ensure these rivers remain a national treasure for generations to come,” said Brig. Gen. Don T. Riley, commander of the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division.
The draft report is available at http://www2.mvr.usace.army.mil/documents/Main_report_6may.pdf.
— D. Krapf