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Army Corps to increase work in Mississippi

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide an additional $67.1 million in FY2016 funding for flood control, navigation and other water resources-related work on waterways throughout Mississippi.

This is a press release from U.S. Senator Thad Cochran’s office.

In addition to critical flood control works in Mississippi, the Army Corps funding will support wastewater improvement projects in Greenville and DeSoto County, the management of approximately 22,000 acres of mitigation land associated with Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) projects in the Mississippi Delta, and the operation of the Jesse Brent Lower Mississippi River Museum, an interpretive facility in Vicksburg.

“Congress gives the Army Corps of Engineers discretion to use a certain amount of funding for projects that were not included or insufficiently funded by the President’s initial budget request.  This prerogative gives the Corps leeway to responsibly fund projects that can have the biggest impact,” Cochran said.

“The Corps has a significant presence in Mississippi, and I’m pleased that significant resources will be directed to our state to improve flood control and public safety,” said the Senator, who serves on the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Army Corps.

The additional funding for Mississippi projects originates from FY2016 appropriations provided by Congress for the Army Corps to use at its discretion to advance ongoing Civil Works projects involving flood control, navigation, water supply, ground water protection, waterfowl management, bank stabilization, erosion and sedimentation control, and environmental restoration projects.  The projects are outlined in the Army Corps FY2016 Work Plan.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2016 (Public Law 114-113) has already specified $108.5 million in Army Corps funding for more than 30 Mississippi projects/activities requested by the President.  With the additional funding announced by Cochran, more than $175.6 million—$67.1 million more than the President initially requested—will benefit Mississippi water resources projects in FY2016.

The Work Plan includes $3.5 million in construction funding to support the Short Fork Effluent Pump Station in DeSoto County and $2.4 million for wastewater system improvements in Greenville.  These environmental infrastructure projects were not included in the President’s budget requests for FY2016.

The Army Corps will also provide an additional $3.6 million to beef up maintenance dredging in Mississippi, including:  $2.0 million at the Whitten Lock on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, $1.9 million for the Rosedale Harbor, $276,000 for the Mouth of the Yazoo, and $99,000 for the Claiborne County Port.

Congress provided $345 million for MR&T for work in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois, which is a $120 million funding increase and the highest level of funding for MR&T since 2011.  Nearly half of this funding increase, $57.6 million, will go toward projects benefitting Mississippi.

The Work Plan will direct an additional MR&T construction funding to the following projects in Mississippi:

  • $11.9 million to the Delta Headwaters Project, which consists of 16 watersheds in Mississippi ranging from one to 600 square miles, and provides important flood control, water quality, and sediment reduction benefits in 16 counties;
  • $9.1 million to resume construction on the Upper Yazoo Projects, which includes levee and channel features along the Yazoo, Tallahatchie, and Coldwater rivers from Yazoo City to Arkabutla Lake in DeSoto County;
  • $4.0 million to complete Big Sunflower River construction and Steele Bayou sediment structures in order to improve drainage in a 752 square-mile area from Greenville to just north of Vicksburg;
  • $3.0 million to the Yazoo Backwater Area Project to address backwater flooding from the Mississippi River in a 2,000-square-mile area between Vicksburg, Hollandale and Belzoni; and,
  • $330,000 (of the additional $4.6 million provided for MR&T levee construction) directed toward Mississippi River levee construction, with $4.8 million (of $17.9 million overall) for navigation channel improvements.

The Corps is also dedicating an additional $23.8 million in operation and maintenance funding to MR&T projects in Mississippi.  The following are among the projects getting additional funding:  Arkabutla Lake, $1.5 million; Big Sunflower River, $100,000; Enid Lake, $2.6 million; Greenwood, $400,000; Grenada Lake, $2.0 million; Main Stem, $450,000; Sardis Lake, $3.8 million; and Yazoo Backwater Area, $200,000.  Another $5.4 million (of $12.9 million provided overall) is added for levee maintenance and $5.0 million (of $13.9 million overall) for channel improvement.

Finally, the Corps is making $2.1 million available for operation and maintenance of the Jesse Brent Lower Mississippi River Museum in Vicksburg and management of mitigation lands at Lake George, Muscadine and Sky Lake that serve as popular Wildlife Management Areas.  The museum, authorized by Congress in 1992, serves as a public education and interpretive center focused on life along the lower Mississippi River.

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