VICKSBURG, Miss. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit (MSU) completed its 2018 season Jan. 11.
During the 2018 season, the MSU placed approximately 200,000 squares of articulated concrete mattress along the Mississippi River to prevent erosion and to protect key areas of the riverbank and flood control works.
“For 70 years, the Mat Sinking Unit has played a crucial role in protecting the banks of the Mississippi River from erosion, and the importance of that task cannot be overstated,” said Vicksburg District Commander Col. Michael C. Derosier. “The Mississippi River serves as a vital commercial waterway and drains 41 percent of the nation’s water. It is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy.”
The MSU typically operates from August to November, the months when river stages are at their lowest, and conducts work that spans the jurisdictions of Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts. Unparalleled across the world, the MSU is a feat of skilled labor and technological innovation. A mat sinking barge, a mat supply barge, quarter barges, spar barges, gantry cranes, bulldozers and motor vessels are among the equipment used by the MSU to help maintain the Mississippi River’s stabilization and navigation. Each season, approximately 50 full-time and 220 seasonal/temporary employees live on quarter boats and work 10-hour shifts and 12-consecutive-day-work periods to execute the mission.
The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline levees. Channel maintenance and river stabilization insures that hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce flow freely up and down the Mississippi River system.
Release no. 19-002