U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will dedicate an additional $14.4 million to Mississippi this year to support additional dredging, flood control, and other construction and maintenance projects.
The Army Corps of Engineers has decided to direct additional Mississippi River & Tributaries Project (MR&T), general construction, and operation and maintenance funding to Mississippi, which is only one of four states receiving additional MR&T funds.
“The Army Corps of Engineers has determined that it should direct funding for channel management, flood control and other work needed in Mississippi, which is good news for areas of our state whose safety and livelihoods rely on these projects,” said Cochran.
The added funding was approved by Congress in January as part of the FY2014 omnibus appropriations bill and will go toward much needed dredging projects at the harbors at Rosedale, Greenville, Vicksburg, Gulfport and Pascagoula. It will also assist with the maintenance of flood control projects like Arkabutla Lake, which provides critical flood protection for the Mississippi Delta while enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism.
“Congress is not funding ‘new starts’ projects without authorization or a presidential request, so the commitment to direct additional resources to Mississippi should help ensure the safety and viability of river management projects and infrastructure in our state,” he said. “I appreciate working with Mississippians and the Corps of Engineers to prioritize our needs within the budget constraints and significant demands on this branch of the Army.”
The omnibus appropriations bill provided $28 million to the Corps of Engineers to use at its discretion to advance “ongoing work” on MR&T projects, including dredging ($5.0 million), flood control ($14.0 million) and other authorized projects ($9.0 million). In addition to Mississippi, portions of this MR&T funding will be used in Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Because these key infrastructure accounts for ongoing work along the Mississippi River tributaries were underfunded in the President’s FY2014 budget, the Congress determined that additional resources would be needed to support flood control, navigation, water supply, ground water protection, waterfowl management, bank stabilization, erosion and sedimentation control, and environmental restoration projects.
As a result, the Corps of Engineers has indicated it will direct resources for the following MR&T projects in Mississippi this year:
• $2.8 million – Yazoo Basin, Delta Headwater Project (construction);
• $800,000 – Yazoo Basin, Big Sunflower (construction);
• $520,000 – Big Sunflower River Watershed (investigations);
• $400,000 – Yazoo Basin, Yazoo Backwater Area (construction).
The Corps of Engineers is also using its discretion to add funding to four Mississippi MR&T projects that received some funding in the omnibus bill. These plus-ups include:
• $1.5 million plus-up to $5.3 million in the omnibus – Yazoo Basin, Arkabutla Lake maintenance ($6.8 million total);
• $1.7 million plus-up to $526,000 – Yazoo Backwater Area maintenance ($2.2 million total);
• $500,000 plus-up to $42,000 – Vicksburg Harbor dredging ($542,000 total);
• $500,000 plus-up to $24,000 – Greenville Harbor dredging ($524,000 total).
Mississippi projects will also receive $1.36 million through the Corps of Engineer’s general construction account. This funding, which was determined by the Corps and not specified in the omnibus bill, includes:
• $1.16 million – DeSoto County Wastewater Treatment;
• $200,000 – Mississippi Environmental Infrastructure.
Through the general operation and maintenance account, the Corps of Engineers is also adding funding for Mississippi projects that received specified funding in the omnibus.
Operation and Maintenance:
• $918,000 plus-up to $3.0 million in the omnibus – Gulfport Harbor for navigation maintenance ($4.0 million total);
• $141,000 plus-up to $34,000 – Mouth of Yazoo River navigation maintenance (total $175,000);
• $45,000 plus-up to $1.65 million – Okatibbee Lake improvements ($1.69 million total);
• $2.0 million plus-up to $7.2 million – Pascagoula Harbor navigation maintenance (total $9.2 million);
• $1.19 million plus-up to $10,000 – Rosedale Harbor navigation maintenance and improvements (total $1.2 million).
The overall omnibus spending bill provided $307.0 million for MR&T in FY2014, including $134.9 million for bank stabilization and improvement dredging along the Mississippi River main channel in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois; and $31.3 million for Mississippi River levee improvements.
Press Release, March 7, 2014