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Civil Works

Civil Works Mission and Vision: Dedicated to providing quality, responsive service to the nation in peace and war.  The mission of civil works is a major component of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The Civil Works programs include water resource development activities including flood risk management, navigation, recreation, and infrastructure and environmental stewardship.  Our mission also includes emergency response.

As the nation’s environmental engineer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages one of the largest federal environmental missions: restoring degraded ecosystems; constructing sustainable facilities; regulating waterways; managing natural resources; and, cleaning up contaminated sites from past military activities. 

The Army Corps of Engineers is the steward of the lands and waters of our nation. Its civil works mission is to manage and conserve America's waterways for navigation and commerce and stay consistent with ecosystem management principles, in addition to providing quality public outdoor recreation experiences to serve the needs of present and future generations.

Mississippi River

For thousands of years, the Mississippi River meandered through its valley unhindered, flooding lowlands and crating 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. Thought 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.

A map of the united State of America identifying the watershed area of the Mississippi River. The drainage area is roughly 41% of the united States.


Channel Improvement consists of stabilizing riverbanks in desirable alignment and obtaining the most efficient flow characteristics for flood control and navigation by revetments, dikes, foreshore protection and improvements. This improves navigation conditions, stabilizes bends and reduces maintenance dredging requirements.


The Corps has developed an environmentally sustainable project with the philosophy to avoid and minimize adverse environmental impact. When impacts  are unavoidable, compensation is made for the loss.

The Corps has created over 6,700 acres of aquatic habitat from borrow areas. The Corps has reforested at least 3,000 acres of borrow areas The Corps has reforested over 25,000 acres of mitigation lands


Flood Risk Management along the Mississippi River is provided through a coordinated, system-wide water management program utilizing: 

  • Water Storage Reservoirs
  • Levees
  • Drainage Structures, Sediment Reduction and Erosion Reduction measures
  • Channel Improvements and Weirs
  • Pumping Plants


The Vicksburg District uses many tools to increase the safety and dependability of navigation on the Mississippi River. Dikes, revetments and dredging are used to stabilize the navigation channel. Channel stabilization improves flow and reduces erosion. The Vicksburg District supports two MR&T ports.

Ouachita-Black Navigation Project

 The watershed has water storage reservoirs with over 3.5 million acre-feet of capacity.The 337-mile Ouachita-Black Navigation Project provides for a 9-foot by 100-foot navigation channel from the mouth of the Black River to Camden, AR. The project operates four locks and dams to regulate pool height and pass navigation along the Waterway. There are 18 Corps recreational areas located along the 4 pools of the project which host approximately 700,000 visitors annually. 

  • There are over 370 miles of levees along the Ouachita River and in the Tensas-Cocodrie, Larto Lake to Jonesville, Sicily Island and Below Red River areas.
  • Five pumping plants of 300 cfs, 500 cfs, 750 cfs, 4,000 cfs and 6,5000 cfs are located in the watershed to aid in flood risk management.
  • The watershed provides water supply for the cities of Hot Springs, Malvern, Arkadelphia and Camden in Arkansas, as well as the city of Monroe in Louisiana.
  • Watershed management is provided through a coordinated, system-wide water management program.

Yazoo River Watershed

The Yazoo River Watershed encompasses the delta area extending north from Vicksburg, MS to north of Clarksdale, MS and east from the Mississippi River to the hills east of Greenwood, MS. The watershed consists of roughly 8,900 square miles including all or parts of 12 Mississippi counties. The watershed has an approximate length of 175 miles and an approximate width of 40 miles.

Flood Risk Management Features include:​

  • 4 water storage reservoirs
  • 202 miles of levees
  • 103 drainage structures
  • 583 miles of channel
  • 1 pumping plant
  • 8 weirs
  • sediment reduction projects
  • erosion reduction measures

Upper Yazoo Projects

Includes channel and levee features along the main channel of the Yazoo, Tallahatchie and Coldwater Rivers from the vicinity of the Yazoo City, MS to the Vicinity of the confluence of Arkabutla Creek with the Coldwater River.

Main Stem

Consists of new and enlarged levee improvements along the Yazoo, Tallahatchie and Coldwater Rivers from Yazoo City to Prichard, MS; and channel clearing, cutoffs   and channel enlargement along the Yazoo, Tallahatchie and Coldwater Rivers.

Delta Headwaters Project

The Mississippi Delta Headwaters Project demonstrates a systems approach to addressing watershed stability problems. The typical problems encountered include: erosion, sedimentation, flooding, and environmental degradation. MDHP contains sixteen watersheds within the Yazoo Basin. The types of structures utilized to  achieve the project goals include: low drop grade control structures, high drop grade control structures, box culvert grade control structures, floodwater retarding   structures, bank stabilization, and riser pipe structures.



J. Bennett Johnston Waterway (Red River)

  • The $1.9 billion Red River Waterway Project was opened to commercial traffic in 1994.
  • Five lock and dam complexes provide a total lift of 140 feet --the equivalent of a 14-story building!
  • The navigation channel has a minimum depth of 9 feet and a minimum width of 200 feet
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains the locks and dams and supervises bank stabilization and other enhancements 
  • Over 1.7 million visitors annually take advantage of facilities offered by 22 recreation areas in 8 parishes along the waterway
  • Over 10,800 acres of mitigation lands have been purchased to offset losses caused by project construction.


Mississippi Lakes

Arkabutla Lake

Located just 30 minutes from Memphis, TN and Tunica, MS in Tate and DeSoto counties in north Mississippi, Arkabutla Lake covers over 11,000 acres and provides a variety of opportunities for all outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. Facilities include picnic areas, campgrounds, biking, hiking and walking trails, boat trails, equestrian trails, ADA fishing pier and playgrounds.

Enid Lake

Located approximately one mile off Interstate 55, 72 miles south of Memphis, TN, Enid Lake encompasses over 44,000 acres and is visited each year by more than 1.5 million visitors. Enid has been recognized as one of America's Top 10 Fishing Spots. Facilities include campgrounds, hiking trails, off-road vehicle trail, playgrounds, boat ramps and swimming beaches.

Sardis Lake

Sardis Lake stretches over 98,000 acres through Panola, Lafayette and Marshal counties in northwest Mississippi. Located approximately one hour from Memphis, TN and 30 minutes from the University of Mississippi, the lake is a popular destination for water-related  recreation. Facilities include nine campgrounds, boat ramps, cabins, playgrounds and swimming beaches.

Grenada Lake

Located in the gently rolling hills of pine and hardwood at the entrance to the Mississippi Delta, Grenada Lake covers 36,000 acres and offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the southeastern United States, as well as most any kind of water activity imaginable. Facilities include campgrounds, boat ramps, fishing areas, shelters, playgrounds and swimming beaches.



Arkansas Lakes

Lake Ouachita

Located along the Ouachita River in central Arkansas and surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, the dam is 1100 feet wide and 205 feet tall creating a lake 205 feet deep at the deepest level. The project includes 690 miles of
shoreline, 40,000 acres of water and 20,000 acres of public land. Facilities include 18 recreation areas with 18 campgrounds, 7 day-use areas, 19 boat ramps and 10 swimming beaches.

DeGray Lake

Located along the Caddo River in south central Arkansas, the multi-purpose project includes 32,400 acres, DeGray Dam has a crest of 3,400 feet wide and rises 243 above the river bed. The dam creates a lake 200 feet deep at its deepest level with 207 miles of  horeline. Facilities include 15 recreation areas with 8 campgrounds, 7 day-use areas, 11 boat ramps and 8 swimming beaches. 

Lake Greeson

Located along the Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas, Narrows Dam is 941 feet wide and rises to a height of the mean valley. The lake created by the dam, Lake Greeson, stretches 2 miles in length and is 150 feet deep at its deepest level and has 134 miles of shoreline. The project contains over 16,000 acres with over 15,000 acres forested. Facilities include 17 recreation areas with 12 campgrounds, 7 day-use areas, 9 boat ramps and 6 swimming beaches.