US Army Corps of Engineers
Vicksburg District

Welcome to the Vicksburg District

 

The Vicksburg District is one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' largest civil works districts in both size and activities.

  The 68,000-square-mile Vicksburg District encompasses seven major river basins, including 278 miles of the Mississippi River's main stem, in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The district is also responsible for about 800 miles of commercially navigable streams and rivers including the Ouachita-Black system, the Pearl, the Red, and the Yazoo rivers.

     To handle the large workload and geographic area, the district, headquartered in Vicksburg, Mississippi, maintains two area offices- Vidalia, Louisiana, and Greenwood, Mississippi, and two field offices at Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana. Each of these offices supervises construction and other activities in its area.

 

Vicksburg District headquarters Building  The Vicksburg District's contributions to the Mid South have been tremendous, including providing a comprehensive flood control and navigation systems on the Mississippi River, building and maintaining major navigation systems on the Red, Ouachita and Pearl rivers, and a recreation program that hosts 30 million visitors annually and returns $1 billion in economic benefits to local communities. As a good neighbor, Vicksburg District leads the community in giving and workplace volunteerism. The District not only exceeds its Combined Federal Campaign and United Way goals, but provides many of the communities volunteer leadership and workers committed to improving their communities.

 

Get to know us in 30 seconds...

Vicksburg District encompasses 68,000 square miles in three states, with a $220-million annual water resources program. Established in 1873, the district has been recognized as Vicksburg's second oldest business.

Our current missions:

  • Flood Control
  • Navigation
  • Hydro-power
  • Recreation
  • Water Supply
  • Emergency Operations
  • Environmental Restoration

 

Our multi-disciplined team of engineers, planners, and environmental, municipal, and recreation specialists are also available, as needed, for other Federal and state customers on a reimbursable basis.
One of the largest civil works districts in the nation, Vicksburg is a center of expertise for many engineering and environmental capabilities. New programs allow us to partner with local agencies and groups to meet their engineering needs.

Our goal: to be America's Engineer of Choice for the 21st Century

What We Do


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The Vicksburg District is comprised of military and civilian professionals who take great pride in meeting public needs. Our work force includes members from numerous fields, all working together to get the job done. As the engineer arm of the U.S. Army, the district employs several types of engineers, such as mechanical, electrical, civil, structural, and hydraulic.

Building for the future requires that our archeologists preserve the past, and fish and wildlife biologists and foresters maintain the delicate balance between nature and our projects.
Our park rangers and park technicians give safe, enjoyable recreation experiences to millions of visitors to Corps facilities.

Planners, economists, and agronomists determine the long-range effects and possible benefits of proposed projects.

Carpenters, clerks, electricians, towboat pilots, lawyers, draftsmen, laborers, photographers, writers, computer programmers, accountants, cartographers, cooks, surveyors, secretaries, painters, welders, realty specialists, radio operators, printers, and Army officers are in service to the Nation.

  • The Vicksburg District provides over 1600 jobs to our three-state area and a payroll of $30 million. Our local workforce approaches 900 with a payroll of about $20 million.
  • The district purchases $10 million from local and area vendors and small businesses.
  • Aside from their participation in hometown clubs, churches, and organizations, our team members serve in a number of official capacities in support of our schools, chambers of commerce, governmental task forces and other key leadership areas.
  • The district owns, operates and maintains $2.3 billion in real property and project lands.

Vicksburg, a city of engineers, is home for the Vicksburg District and several other organizational units of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, both civilian and military. Among these are the Mississippi River Commission (MRC), the Mississippi Valley Division (MVD), the Engineer Research and Development Center and Waterways Experiment Station, the 412th Engineer Command, U.S. Army Reserve, and the 168th Engineer Group, Mississippi Army National Guard.

The Motor Vessel Mississippi,the Corps of Engineers most powerful towboat, hosts public meetings each year to listen to public concerns about the Mississippi River. MRC, established in 1879, has been headquartered in downtown Vicksburg since 1929. It serves as an advisory and consulting body of the Chief of Engineers concerning policy and work programs for flood control and navigation on the Mississippi and its tributaries. The seven members are appointed by the President of the United States and include three Corps officers, one as MRC President.

MVD shares headquarters with MRC and along with MRC supervises the operations of six civil works districts: St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, New Orleans, St. Paul, and Rock Island. The 370,000-square-mile division includes part of twelve states in the central United States.

Also located in Vicksburg and a vital part of the Corps, the Engineer Research and Development Center is independent of MRC, MVD, and the Vicksburg District. Assembling five Corps laboratories located throughout the United States, ERDC operates directly under the authority of the Chief of Engineers in Washington. It's major lab, the Waterways Experiment Stations conducts important studies for the military and civil works agencies of the Corps, and other agencies.

The 412th is the Engineer Command for the U.S. Army, Europe, responsible for peacetime planning and for coordination of all Army Engineer wartime construction and repair in the European Theater. Many of the 412th reservists are civilian employees of other Corps units in Vicksburg. The experience they gain in both roles helps enhance their ability to serve the public.

The importance of the National Guard to the Army and the defense of state and nation, as well as their quick response to emergencies of all kinds are well known, and the engineers of the 168th Engineer Group, Mississippi Army National Guard, serve the tradition well. Again, many members of the Corps' civilian work force spend part of their free time in the Guard.

The Vicksburg District is charged with several key projects that are critical to the economic and military security of our nation and keep us at the forefront of international engineering.

These include:

  • Developing and maintaining 9-foot navigation on 278 miles of the Mississippi River which carries over 500 million tons annually to the world's busiest shipping corridor: Baton Rouge-New Orleans
  • Constructing and operating an expansive flood control system that to date has prevented $ 50 billion in flood damages.
  • Key environmental projects such as restoring the water quality in Arkansas' largest natural lake, Lake Chicot, and the restoration of thousands of acres of bottomland hardwoods in the Mississippi Delta.
  • A recreation program that attracts nearly 30 million visitors annually to nine lakes and provides $1 billion in benefits to local economies.
Unhindered barge traffic is an old sight on the lower Mississippi River, but similar traffic on many rivers and streams is impossible without man-made aids to ensure a navigable channel during low water seasons. Modern concrete locks and dams on the Pearl, Ouachita, and Red rivers provide year-round navigation for commercial and pleasure river traffic.

The three Pearl River locks, located in southern Louisiana, were transferred to Vicksburg from the Mobile District. Though operable, the locks were placed in caretaker status in the 1970s because of lack of adequate traffic. However, the potential for renewed commercial traffic holds a promise of future economic growth for the lower reaches of the river.

In 1982, the Vicksburg District assumed the responsibility for development, operation, and maintenance of the Red River Waterway from the New Orleans District. The construction of five modern locks and dams was completed as scheduled on December 31, 1994, and construction of river training aids continues. This $2-billion waterway will provide year-round 9-foot navigation to Shreveport, Louisiana.

With the completion of H. K. Thatcher and Felsenthal locks and dams in Arkansas in 1984, a chain begun in the 1960's by the Vicksburg District to link ports along the Ouachita River with the rest of the world has become a reality. These locks, along with Columbia and Jonesville locks in Louisiana, now provide year-round 9-foot navigation to Camden, Arkansas. The modern Ouachita River project combined waterway improvement works, such as dredging and bend widening, with the four modern locks and dams while retaining the Ouachita's status as one of the world's most beautiful rivers.

The new Ouachita Navigation System replaces the antiquated 6-1/2-foot system completed in 1925, of which Locks 6 and 8 in Arkansas were the last remaining operational parts. The old locks and dams were unique and outmoded because they used individual manually operated wooden wickets to control navigation pool levels. The obsolete 6-1/2-foot system could not efficiently handle modern river traffic.

H. K. Thatcher, Felsenthal, Columbia, and Jonesville locks and dams use state-of-the-art mechanical and electronic equipment to efficiently pass river traffic. Where once two men in a boat adjusted the wickets of the dam, a push of the button can raise or lower the fainter gates to adjust the upstream levels. Similar simplified actions are required to open and close the lock gates or raise or lower water levels in the chamber.

First, a few important points about the Corps' participation in the nation's infrastructure building program:

  • Our civil works projects are among the few Federal programs that must pass a benefit/cost analysis before they are built. This analysis ensures that civil works projects are built at a benefit to the taxpayer.
  • Corps projects carry an equal emphasis on economic growth and the environment. The goal of our projects is no net loss of environmental habitat.
  • New legislation now allows us to conduct projects to restore our environment.
  • Civil works projects address major national needs, as well as producing local benefits. These projects ensure national security through economic strength, enhance the country's competitive position in the world market and improve America's ability to respond in time of war.
For the past half century, the river transportation industry has grown rapidly, transporting many bulk materials, including oil, coal, lumber, and grain. To make full use of the inland waterways, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local interests have worked together to develop ports and harbors on many rivers and streams. The district has developed ports of all sizes, from the 245-acre Vicksburg Harbor-one of the busiest ports on the lower Mississippi-to the 10-acre Claiborne County Port near Port Gibson, Mississippi. The Vicksburg District has been involved in various aspects of port development and construction on the Ouachita, Mississippi, Red, and Arkansas Rivers.
For thousands of years, the Mississippi River meandered through its valley unhindered, flooding lowlands and creating oxbow lakes when it changed course. But as men began to settle and develop the valley, they tried to place restrictions on the whims of the river and make it conform to their needs. Sometimes the river would cooperate, but many times it would not. Caving banks would claim buildings or valuable farmlands, the shifting channel would leave prosperous ports high and dry, and numerous floods devastated crops and economies.

More than a century ago, the Vicksburg District began working with the Mississippi River and its tributaries seeking their cooperation, but the present comprehensive program began after the disastrous flood of 1927. The work of the past half century has included cutoffs, floodways, reservoirs, and levees. Much of the ongoing work on the river-bank stabilization, dikes, and dredging-is performed to keep the river in the desired channel for navigation and flood control.

One of the largest of the Vicksburg District's operations is the annual revetment program. Using articulated concrete mattresses cast at fields in Greenville, Mississippi, and Delta Point, Louisiana, the district repairs and fortifies banks against the destructive, gnawing current of the river. For the revetments to be effective, they need at least two qualities- economy and strength. The present use of articulated concrete mattresses, is the culmination of 100 years of engineering evolution.

One of the earliest forms of revetment in the Lower Mississippi Valley was the willow mattress, woven by hand on site and weighted into place with stone. The willow mats were successful for several reasons. The main ingredient, willows, was abundant in most places along the river, and young willows could be woven into a mat that was flexible enough to conform to the irregularities of the bank. But the willows had their drawbacks-the tediousness of weaving the mats, eventual deterioration of the material, and, by 1910, the scarcity of willows.

Experiments with reinforced concrete as a revetment material began in Vicksburg in 1914, and the first successful reinforced articulated- concrete mattress was developed in 1917 and patented by D. H. Shearer. The 3-inch-thick concrete slabs were reinforced with a wire mesh extending on all sides. The 16-block mattresses are now cast in units of 13 uniform slabs and barged to the worksite as needed.

Prior to the placement of the mat, the bank of the river is graded to a stable slope using bulldozers and massive floating draglines. The units of reinforced concrete slabs are then assembled on the sloping deck of the sinking unit into mattresses 156 feet wide. The sinking unit is then moved out from the bank, allowing the completed sections to slide from the deck onto the bank. When mattress placement is complete, the graded area above the revetment is protected with a covering of stone riprap. This entire process costs about the same per square foot as laying good carpet in a home.

The articulated concrete mattress has attracted the interest of engineers from around the world. Each year, numerous foreign visitors come to the Vicksburg District during the work season to observe the process from beginning to end-from the casting of the mats through their assembly and placement on the banks of the mighty river. However, despite international interest, there is only one existing mat sinking unit, unique to the Mississippi River and operated by the Corps' Vicksburg District.

Though the river may seem tame to some, it still has a will of its own, fighting to go where it pleases. However, as long as there is a need, the Vicksburg District will continue to work with the Mississippi, developing the required technology to meet the needs of new challenges.

  • 7 drainage basins in Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana to include the Yazoo, Pearl, Big Black, Red, Ouachita, and Mississippi rivers
  • Lakes with 1,709 miles of shoreline
  • 12 locks and dams on the Pearl, Red, and Ouachita rivers
  • 1,808 miles of levees, including 468 along the Mississippi
  • 478 flood control structures
  • 21 pumping plants
  • 1,252 miles of navigable channel
  • 135 recreation areas with 3,215 camp sites and 2,028 picnic sites
  • 3 hydropower projects
    • Every Vicksburg District project has, over time, paid for itself.
    • Corps flood control projects return $8 for every $1 spent.
    • Ports maintained by the Corps return about $160 billion in Federal taxes to the Treasury each year. The entire Corps program, both civil works and military, is only $3 billion annually.
    • Flood control and navigation projects allow us to produce more projects, move them more efficiently and support our nation's high standard of living.
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    Recreation is a growing business for the district. In recent years, total annual visitation to district lakes, and two recreation sites on the Ouachita, Black, and Red Rivers in Louisiana has approached 30 million and is continuing to grow. In the 40 years since Sardis, the oldest of the district's lakes, opened to the public, more than 400 million people have visited the district's recreation facilities. Growing visitation also means hundreds of millions of recreation dollars for state and local economies.

    Vicksburg District manages 165 recreation areas in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and nearly 2,500 miles of shoreline (equal to the entire Gulf Coast). Most people are attracted to the lakes by the water, which offers a variety of recreational opportunities-swimming, skiing, boating, diving, etc. With 174,000 total acres in recreation pools, there is ample space for all these activities. The projects also offer excellent hunting and fishing in many areas.

    Camping and picnicking also help draw the crowds to Vicksburg District lakes. There are 2,500 picnic sites and 4,700 camping sites with recreation facilities also offered through several state parks located adjacent to the lakes.

    Each of the lakes is staffed by trained professionals who strive to provide safe, enjoyable recreation experiences. However, due to ever increasing visitation, coupled with the size of each project and recent manpower cuts, visitor cooperation is essential in promoting safety.

    In addition to its role in the Ouachita-Black Rivers navigation system, operation of the Felsenthal Lock and Dam regulates the fish and wildlife management pool for the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge. The district acted as purchasing agent for the 65,000-acre refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A similar purchasing arrangement has been used to acquire more than 50,000 acres for the Tensas National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. In addition to their roles in protecting important ecosystems, both refuges offer numerous recreational opportunities.

    Quick, effective response to emergencies saves lives and reduces suffering and damages. Crisis management experience and field offices located throughout Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana uniquely qualify the Vicksburg District to help deal with emergencies of all proportions- local, state, and national. Its civil works program requires the district to maintain bulldozers, trucks, and other heavy equipment especially useful in emergency operations.

    On numerous occasions, district engineers have used their discretionary authority to respond to life-threatening situations, such as tornado emergencies, rescuing trapped survivors, and helping other emergency personnel gain access to the area. Often district personnel are among the first on the scene. The same reaction can hold true for other emergencies.

    The Vicksburg District is most experienced in handling flood emergencies. In dealing with seven major river basins, including the unpredictable Mississippi River, rapidly rising stages often signal a flurry of activities. Stages are carefully monitored, and levees and flood control structures are constantly inspected for signs of weakness.

    In most instances, local levee boards have full responsibility for operation and maintenance of levees and flood structures, and flood fighting is considered high water maintenance. However, the three-state district maintains manpower and equipment to provide almost instant aid if a flood surpasses the capabilities of a local agency.
    On an increasing scale, the transportation of hazardous chemicals is in the public's mind. In recent years, spill emergencies have involved everything from petroleum to chlorine. One of the most hazardous jobs the Vicksburg District ever faced was the removal of sunken chlorine barges at Natchez, Mississippi in 1962.
    The district's authority to respond is strictly limited, often to only an advisory role. The distri can respond to requests from other agencies, such as the EPA.

    Emergencies happen on all scales, and the Vicksburg District is constantly preparing to mobilize in response to national emergencies. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the country's engineers, stands ready to respond in support of the military or Federal agencies as called upon.

    Although it has a major civilian work force in its civil works area, the Corps of Engineers is a vital part of the Army, and support to the Army is an important mission of every Corps district.

    Vicksburg District has always taken this support role very seriously, working with the active Army, Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC), reserve components, and Army National Guard at every opportunity.

    The hundreds of thousands of project acres around the lakes, clear and forested, offer ideal areas for many types of military training, ranging from parachute drops to temporary construction. District construction projects provide excellent experience for West Point and ROTC cadets studying engineering. Army helicopter pilots log many hours of valuable flying time during high water emergencies, helping the district maintain watch on hundreds of miles of levees. These flying patrols add to the pilots' experience and provide an indispensable service to the Corps.

    The Vicksburg District's service to the Army is more direct in other areas. Many of our civilian employees are also members of the Army Reserve and National Guard, often performing similar duties at both jobs. Their work enhances their ability to serve the Army, and their time with Reserve or Guard units increases their job skills. More importantly, these employees often share an increased understanding of the hardships and rewards of military life.

    The district's active military officers also play an important role in Reserve and Guard training. Every year, one or more of the district's officers serve as evaluators during annual two- week training. Their experience in the active Army helps them offer constructive advice to Guard and Reserve units.

    The Vicksburg District has had ample opportunity to prove its engineering expertise through more than the construction of levees, dams, and harbors. District interest also includes environmental protection and restoration, recreation, water resources development, and many other areas. The district has found innovative answers to many questions, setting standards for engineering nationwide. For better than 60 years, silt- and pesticide- laden runoff was channeled into Lake Chicot, the largest natural lake in Arkansas. Most of the sport aquatic life was killed and the lake filled slowly with silt. The $90-million Lake Chicot Pumping Plant project, including auxiliary structures, keeps poor quality water from entering the lake, channeling it to the Mississippi River instead. The project, designed to return life to the lake, will enhance the overall quality of life in a three-state area and includes other considerations such as flood control, water supply, and recreation in addition to environmental restoration.

    Each district lake has qualities which benefit the public. The nationally recognized Lake Ouachita Geo-Float Trail guides boaters around the lake, highlighting and describing many geological formations unique to the area. The trail calls attention to the special beauty of the area and gives visitors an increased understanding of the formation of the Ouachita Mountains. The trail was the first water-based interpretive trail included in the National Trails System.

    Downtown Monroe, Louisiana, faced a difficult flooding problem prior to the 1970s. Floodwalls and levees, completed in the mid- 1930s, protected the city from the Ouachita River with the exception of a 1,750-foot gap in the heart of the business district. This gap was filled with an ultramodern floodwall designed by the Vicksburg District that provides adequate protection and an unobstructed, aesthetically pleasing view of the river. The cantilevered design of the floodwall allows it to serve as a sidewalk when not raised against a flood.

    DeGray Dam was the first Corps hydropower dam using a pump-back, reversible generator to ensure an ample water supply for peak-load power generation. Though used for years in Europe, pump-back generators have only recently become economically competitive in the United States. Realizing that rain might not always replenish water used for power generation, reversible turbines are used to pump water from a storage reservoir below the dam back up to the power pool for reuse.

    The Corps has found a way to make a river's destructive force work to stop erosion, especially along the Red River in Louisiana and Arkansas. Trenchfill revetment uses the natural tendency of a river to cut its banks to simplify the placement of stone bank protection. A trench is dug on dry land along the desired channel alignment and filled with stone. The current of the river continues to cut into the old bank until, eventually, the stone-filled trench is reached. When the stone is undercut, it falls to cover the bank, preventing further erosion.

    Today's challenges are more complex and controversial. The Vicksburg District of the 21st century is using engineers, planners, and environmental staff to redesign ongoing projects to make them more environmentally friendly, and design other projects to restore environmental areas diminished by man over the years.

    The resources of the Vicksburg District are also being called upon by local and state Governments to support their engineering efforts under new programs that permit the Corps to assist in ways never before possible.

    In addition to their recreation potential, the Vicksburg District's lakes and game management areas are excellent resource management tools. The lakes provide habitat for numerous species of birds, fish, and other animals. The district maintains hundreds of wood duck boxes at its lakes and cleans and adds to them every year. Also, wildlife foodplots are regularly planted around the lake to provide winter food for many animals. And, of course, the annual gathering of discarded Christmas trees for use as fish shelter has become a familiar sight in many communities around the lakes.
    Forest management is another important job for lake personnel; trees are regularly checked, thinned to assure a healthy forest, and new trees planted.
    An increasingly important resource and wildlife management tool at the lakes is the district's volunteer program. Hundreds of people of all ages have offered their talents and time to perform needed work that might otherwise be neglected because of manpower shortages. Their efforts range from planting flowers at a project entrance to maintaining hiking and cycling trails.

    In the event our armed forces are mobilized to meet a national threat, the Vicksburg District would assume a role of military construction on the home front, building training bases, barracks, airfields, and other necessary facilities. Mobilization, like a flood fight, requires preparation to assure a smooth transition from civil works to military construction. Of course, no one wants war but, as George Washington told both Houses of Congress in his first annual address in 1790, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." To ready civilian employees in case of emergency, the Corps holds regular mobilization exercises to test responses and find weaknesses and strengths.

    The US Army Corps of Engineers has been regulating activities in the nation's waters since 1890. Until the 1960's the primary purpose of the regulatory program was to protect navigation. Since then, as a result of laws and court decisions, the program has been broadened so that it now considers the full public interest for both the protection and utilization of water resources.

    The Corps authority to regulate work in the Nations’ waters comes from Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, which established permit requirements to prevent unauthorized obstruction or alteration of any navigable water of the United States, and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which authorizes the Corps to require permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States at specified disposal sites.

    Of great importance in the evaluation of an application for a permit is the Corps public interest balancing process. The public benefits and detriments of all factors relevant to each case are carefully evaluated and balanced. Relevant factors may include conservation, economics, aesthetics, wetlands, cultural values, navigation, fish and wildlife values, water supply, water quality, and any other factors judged important to the needs and welfare of the people.

    Public involvement plays a central role in the Corps' administration of its regulatory program. Interaction with the public, through public notice and public hearing, is critical to solicit comments and information necessary to evaluate the beneficial and detrimental impacts of a proposed project on the public interest.
    The intent of these laws and the Corps regulatory program is to protect the Nation’s navigable waters from unpermitted obstructions and to restore and enhance the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters, including wetlands.

    The US Army Corps of Engineers has been regulating activities in the nation's waters since 1890. Until the 1960's the primary purpose of the regulatory program was to protect navigation. Since then, as a result of laws and court decisions, the program has been broadened so that it now considers the full public interest for both the protection and utilization of water resources.

    The Corps authority to regulate work in the Nations’ waters comes from Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, which established permit requirements to prevent unauthorized obstruction or alteration of any navigable water of the United States, and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which authorizes the Corps to require permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States at specified disposal sites.

    Of great importance in the evaluation of an application for a permit is the Corps public interest balancing process. The public benefits and detriments of all factors relevant to each case are carefully evaluated and balanced. Relevant factors may include conservation, economics, aesthetics, wetlands, cultural values, navigation, fish and wildlife values, water supply, water quality, and any other factors judged important to the needs and welfare of the people.

    Public involvement plays a central role in the Corps' administration of its regulatory program. Interaction with the public, through public notice and public hearing, is critical to solicit comments and information necessary to evaluate the beneficial and detrimental impacts of a proposed project on the public interest.
    The intent of these laws and the Corps regulatory program is to protect the Nation’s navigable waters from unpermitted obstructions and to restore and enhance the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters, including wetlands.

    Even though at times there seems to be too much water in the district, a century of work has shown that, in reality, water is a limited resource that should be wisely developed and used. Three- quarters of the world's surface may be water, but only a fraction of that is economically available for consumption. Yet, even though the supply is limited, the demands are increasing for recreation, industry, fish and wildlife management, hydropower, agriculture, navigation, and, of course, drinking. For the past quarter century or more, water resources management has been a rapidly growing part of the district's mission, with Congress instructing Vicksburg District to assume a leadership role in the area for water resource research, resource feasibility studies, and resource management.

    Demand for water has grown steadily in the past century. In 1900, national consumption of water was estimated at about 40 billion gallons daily but, by 1975, it had reached a daily average of 453 billion gallons. Already states and municipalities are competing for existing water sources and seeking new ones.

    This nationwide problem must be faced on the home fronts as well. In the Mississippi Delta, the Vicksburg District has worked with several state and local agencies to determine the causes and solutions for declining groundwater supplies. Increasing municipal, industrial, and agricultural use of groundwater has left the supply greatly depleted.

    The Corps first became involved in hydropower in 1909. Since then, it has become the nation's largest producer of hydropower, developing more than 70 hydroelectric plants capable of generating almost 20 million kilowatts a year.

    The Vicksburg District first became involved in hydroelectric generation in 1950 with the construction of Narrows Dam on Lake Greeson in Arkansas. It was the fifth Corps power plant in the nation, and started with only two generating units. A third unit was added later. Blakely Mountain Dam on Lake Ouachita became the second district power plant in 1956, and DeGray Dam became the third in 1972. In recent years, the three plants have produced up to 360 million kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to supply the needs of almost 40,000 homes. The power produced represents about 577,000 barrels of oil or 144,000 tons of coal.

    The Vicksburg District acts only as a source of electric power, not a distributor. Any power surplus to the needs of the project is marketed by the U.S. Department of Energy, Southwest Power Administration.. Narrows' electricity is sold to Southwestern Electric Power Company. DeGray and Blakely furnish power to Entergy Corporation. Power companies usually hold the lakes in reserve to supplement other electricity sources during peak use periods.