NEW ORLEANS, La., December 1, 2010 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers met with dredging industry representatives today to discuss the federal dredging budget and the resulting levels of service to Mississippi River channels. The meeting was a venue for Corps officials from the Mississippi Valley Division and New Orleans District to discuss the funding status and listen to and discuss the concerns of navigation partners.
In recent years, funding needs to maintain the full Mississippi River dredging project dimensions (depth and width) year round have been addressed through supplemental appropriations and reprogramming, or transferring, funds from other projects. In view of tightening budgets, the Corps cannot assume that these sources of funds will continue to be available, and without being able to rely on supplemental funding and unlimited reprogramming, the Corps has planned for dredging to proceed consistent with appropriated amounts during FY 2011.
In his opening remarks, Major General Michael J. Walsh, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, stated he recognized that the United States is a maritime nation and that everyone who depends on the 3rd largest watershed in world will face challenges in this constrained federal budget environment. “We also understand that it is imperative to our economy to maintain safe and reliable shipping lanes in the Mississippi River,” Walsh added.
During the meeting, the Corps reiterated its commitment to working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard, pilot associations and navigation stakeholders in properly communicating channel conditions so that users can assure safe maritime transportation in the Mississippi River.
“The Mississippi River must be viewed as a system. We will take the comments of our industry partners seriously and seek system-based solutions,” Walsh said. “By facing our challenges together, we can provide for our nation’s vital navigation resources.”
Release no. 10-008