The Motor Vessel MISSISSIPPI made an appearance in the St. Paul District Aug. 9 to 12 as part of the Mississippi River Commission’s 2013 Low Water Inspection Trip.
The MV MISSISSIPPI is the biggest diesel towboat in the United States. It is 241 feet long and 58 feet wide with 6,300 horse power. Most of the time, the vessel is a working towboat operated by the Mississippi Valley Division’s Memphis District. Approximately 10 percent of the time, it serves as an inspection boat for the Mississippi River Commission.
The presidentially-appointed, seven-member commission recommends civil works policy and programs to the administration. Each year, it takes a high- and low-water inspection trip onboard the MV MISSISSIPPI. During these trips, the commission usually hosts several public hearings along the way.
The district hosted a Federal Executive Board meeting, a legislative workshop, a Leadership Development Program class graduation and employee open house onboard the MV MISSISSIPPI while it was docked near the district headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., Aug. 9. When the commissioners arrived in St. Paul on Sunday to begin their inspection trip down river, district employees took them to Lock and Dam 1 and Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, both in Minneapolis, to discuss the Asian carp threat within the region.
Monday morning, the vessel’s crew docked the towboat in La Crosse, Wis., and the commissioners were taken on a tour of the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, a center run by the U.S. Geological Survey that is dedicated to protect, enhance and restore the ecosystems of the Upper Mississippi River basin. Following the tour, the MRC hosted a public hearing for citizens to express concerns about the Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River. That night, the district hosted a meeting with stakeholders on board the vessel in order to tour the recently built Pool 8 islands, which were built as a part of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program.
This year’s graduating Leadership Development Program class coordinated all of the MV MISSISSIPPI activities. “I believe the MV Mississippi trip was a success,” said class graduate Jacob Fall, engineering and construction. “This success was accomplished through hard work, dedication and a large amount of team work and communication.”