The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The public is invited to an open house on board the M/V Mississippi when it is docked at Ross’s Landing in Chattanooga from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7. The vessel is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ largest diesel towboat and flagship to the Mississippi River Commission, which is inspecting Tennessee Valley Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District projects along the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers as part of the commission’s annual low water inspection trip.
In addition to the tour of the vessel, TVA and the Corps will have displays onboard during the open house in Chattanooga and the public will have the opportunity to interact with subject matter experts about the purposes of the projects on these waterways, and mission of the commission.
Please note that for the safety of everyone onboard during the open house, weapons, large bags and backpacks are not permitted. Small wallets and clutches are allowed. The open house is first come, first served. The public is reminded to wear sunscreen and encouraged to bring water to stay hydrated if a line forms on the pier while waiting to go onboard for the open house.
The commission will travel the Tennessee, Cumberland and Ohio rivers Saturday, Aug. 8 through Friday, Aug. 14, with stops in the following locations to experience dialogue sessions with partners and stakeholders: Chattanooga, Tennessee, Decatur, Alabama, Clarksville, Tennessee, Nashville, Tennessee, Kentucky Lock, Kentucky and Olmstead Lock.
Composed of seven members, each is nominated by the president of the United States and vetted by the Senate. Three of the organization's members are officers of the Corps of Engineers; one member is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and three members are civilians, two of whom are civil engineers. They are Maj. Gen. Michael C. Wehr, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division and president-nominee of the commission; Sam E. Angel, Lake Village, Ark.; R.D. James, New Madrid, Mo.; Dr. Norma Jean Mattai, Metairie, La.; Rear Adm. Gerd F. Glang, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration director, Silver Springs, Md.; Brig. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commander, Cincinnati, Ohio; and Brig. Gen. John S. Kem, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division commander, Portland, Ore.
The general duties of the MRC include the recommendation of policy and work flood control, navigation, and environmental projects on the Mississippi River, programs, the study of and reporting on the necessity for modifications to and conducting semiannual inspection trips and public hearings at various locations along the river. The work of the MRC is directed by its president and carried out by Army engineer districts from the watershed.
Since 1879, the seven-member presidentially appointed Mississippi River Commission has developed and matured plans for the general improvement of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to Head of Passes, La., where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The commission brings critical engineering representation to the drainage basin, which impacts 41 percent of the United States and includes 1.25 million square miles, over 250 tributaries, 31 states and two Canadian provinces.
The M/V Mississippi spends more than 90 percent of its time as a working towboat, moving barges, equipment and supplies on the lower Mississippi River. The M/V Mississippi, built in 1993 by Halter Marine, is the fifth Army Corps of Engineers towboat to bear the name. It is the largest diesel towboat in the United States at 241 feet long, 58 feet wide and five stories high. Three 2,100-horsepower diesel engines power the vessel.