The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Motor Vessel Mississippi stopped at the Toad Suck Lock and Dam Wednesday afternoon as the towboat travelled the Arkansas River.
The MV Mississippi is spending three days ferrying the Mississippi River Commission on an inspection of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. The commission inspects the Mississippi and its tributaries annually, but this was the commissioners’ first trip on the Arkansas River.
According to Mississippi River Commission President Gen. Michael Walsh, the yearly trip is used to meet with federal, state and local officials, as well as community leaders to discuss the issues and concerns they face along the Mississippi watershed.
"Our main goals during the trips are to listen to community leaders, talk to people and inspect the river," Walsh said. "We’ll take that information and what we learn and submit a report to Congress on how to improve the watershed."
The three-day inspection of the Arkansas River began Monday at W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam near Gore, Okla. The MV Mississippi stopped at the James W. Trimble Lock and Dam in Fort Smith before travelling to Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock and Dam in Ozark. The commission ended the first day of the trip at the Dardanelle Lock and Dam in Russellville.
The second day included stops at the Arthur V. Ormond Lock and Dam in Morrilton, Toad Suck Lock and Dam and the Murray Lock and Dam in Little Rock.
Thursday’s trip will include stops at the David D. Terry Lock and Dam near Scott, the Charles D. Maynard Lock and Dam near Wright, the Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam at Pine Bluff and the Joe Hardin Lock and Dam downstream of Pine Bluff. The trip will end at Lock 2 near Tichnor tonight.
Mississippi River Commission member Sam Angel, of Lake Village, said this year’s trip has been a great success and was excited that the MV Mississippi finally made it down the Arkansas.
"I’m glad we were able to take the trip down the river this year," Angel said. "The Arkansas River is a major contributor to the Mississippi, and it’s such a beautiful river.
"I’ve been very impressed with the ports, and I’m glad to see the divisions working together. This has been a very educational trip for everyone involved."
Walsh said the main goal of the Mississippi River Commission is to help develop the Mississippi River and watershed. Walsh hopes the commission and its annual inspections will help residents "expand their focus and recognize the Mississippi River and its tributaries as a single entity."
The duties of the commission include making recommendations of policy and work programs, performing studies, reporting on the necessity for modifications or additions to the flood protection, navigation and environmental projects, making recommendations on matters authorized by law and making annual inspection trips.
The MV Mississippi is the flagship vessel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Built in 1993, the Mississippi is the largest diesel towboat in the United States at 241 feet long and 58 feet wide with 6,300 horsepower.
The MV Mississippi spends most of its time as a working towboat for the Corps. It is stationed at the Memphis District and moves barges, equipment and supplies along the Mississippi River.
(Staff writer Stephanie Fischer can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1238. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)