25th Apr 2017
Members of the Mekong River Commission Council spent five days in the Lower Mississippi Valley in the United States beginning April 2, 2017 arriving in Memphis, Tennessee and travelled to numerous locations in the region as the guests of the Mississippi River Commission. The group included leaders from member-country Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment including: Laos Minister Sommad Pholsena, Thailand Minister General Surasak Karnjanara and Viet Nam Minister Dr. Tran Hong Ha.
The visit was to strengthen the capacity of the Mekong River Commission through exchanges of experience and best practices with the Mississippi River Commission under the Sister River Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Mekong River Commission participated in the High Water Inspections and two public meetings in Hickman, Kentucky and Memphis, Tennessee to understand and experience how U.S. Army Corps of Engineers engages the public.
The two organisations formed a partnership in 2010 built around common interests in water resource development and management, and sharing of technical expertise and lessons learned.
This was the third time a Mekong group visited the United States,” said Elizabeth Burks, Chief of Project Development Branch and Assistant Deputy of Project Management for the Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Their first visit took place in 2013 when members of the MRC went to Washington, D.C., Chicago, Paducah, Kentucky, and Nashville.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a U.S. federal agency under the Department of Defense and is one of the world’s largest public engineering, design and construction management agencies in the world.
The group also traveled to Caruthersville, Missouri, where they viewed flood control works like levees and floodwalls and learned about the Corps of Engineers’ ongoing flood prevention work. From there they proceeded on to Hickman, Kentucky, where they boarded the Mississippi River Commission’s Motor Vessel Mississippi to attend one of the Commission’s semi-annual public meetings.
The group also toured the Grand Prairie Pumping Station in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas. The visitors departed on April 6, stopping in Portland, Oregon, to visit the Bonneville Hydropower Dam, before returning home to Southeast Asia.
The Mississippi River Commission, established in 1879, is tasked to recommend policy and work programs, the study of and reporting upon the necessity for modifications or additions to the flood control and navigation project, recommendation upon any matters authorized by law, and making semi-annual inspection trips. The duties of the commission include the entire length of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to Head of Passes, La., where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
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