The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that the Memphis District Revetment season officially began this year on June 11, with District Commander Col. Zachary Miller hosting a kickoff meeting at the Ensley Engineer Yard to get things started.
Revetment operations are primarily the preparation for, and placement of articulated concrete mattress (ACM) from the water’s edge, out to design limits in conjunction with stone paving, from water’s edge to top bank. This stabilizes the river bank and maintains the proper navigation channel alignment.
“Protecting the Mississippi River banks keeps the channel in place, which maintains the necessary depth and alignment that allows the thousands of tows to travel up and down the river year round,” Col. Miller said. “Without this work, the river would shift resulting in new, shallow cutoffs that could not be safely traveled.”
Protecting the river banks also provides the first line of defense against Mississippi River floods, he added.
“We have the best levees in the world,” the colonel continued. “Our levees run from Cairo, Illinois, to south of New Orleans, Louisiana. Our revetment program keeps the river in its place preventing the river from directly striking our levees. A levee failure in southeast Missouri would devastate much of the Missouri Boot Heel as well as eastern Arkansas all the way to Helena — that’s 90 miles.”
The Memphis District is slated to work 28 sites along 1,000 miles of the Mississippi River this year with plans to clear 70,000 feet of bank. The bank grading unit is scheduled to move over 820,000 cubic yards of material to ready the channel banks for articulated concrete mattress, which will be completed in unison with the Vicksburg District.