The public is invited to tour the Motor Vessel MISSISSIPPI when it is docked at the Central Louisiana Regional Port in Alexandria, Louisiana, from 9-10:30 a.m. Aug. 16.
The vessel is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' largest diesel towboat and flagship to the Mississippi River Commission (MRC), which is inspecting Corps of Engineers projects along the Red River as part of the commission's annual low-water inspection trip.
Members of the public are advised to wear flat, closed-toed shoes for safety. Visitors must be fully mobile and able to climb stairs. For security purposes, visitors will be required to present identification and bags will be subject to search.
The M/V MISSISSIPPI spends more than 90 percent of its time as a working towboat, moving barges, equipment and supplies on the lower Mississippi River. The M/V MISSISSIPPI, built in 1993 by Halter Marine, is the fifth Army Corps of Engineers towboat to bear the name. It is the largest diesel towboat in the United States at 241-feet long, 58-feet wide and five stories high. Three 2,100-horsepower diesel engines power the vessel.
The MRC will travel the Red River Aug. 13-16, with stops in the following Louisiana cities to conduct meetings with partners and stakeholders: Shreveport/Bossier City, Natchitoches, and Alexandria.
Since 1879, the seven-member presidentially appointed Mississippi River Commission has developed and matured plans for the general improvement of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to Head of Passes, Louisiana, where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The commission brings critical engineering representation to the drainage basin, which impacts 41 percent of the United States and includes 1.25 million square miles, over 250 tributaries, 31 states and two Canadian provinces.
The MRC is composed of seven members, each is nominated by the President of the United States and vetted by the Senate. Three of the organization's members are officers of the Corps of Engineers; one member is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and three members are civilians, two of whom are civil engineers.
The general duties of the MRC include the recommendation of policy and work flood control, navigation, and environmental projects on the Mississippi River, programs, the study of and reporting on the necessity for modifications to and conducting semiannual inspection trips and public hearings at various locations along the river. The work of the MRC is directed by its president and carried out by Army engineer districts from the watershed.