NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 19, 2013) – Eleven members of the Mekong River Commission were briefed on how management of operations on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers affect Mississippi River operations during their June 18-19, 2013 visit to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.
“The Mekong River Commission and the Mississippi River Commission operate under similar principles and mandates and we were honored to share through a technical exchange how management of operations on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers have a downstream effect on the Mississippi River,” said Lt. Col. James A. DeLapp, Nashville District commander.
The visit was part of a sister river partnership established May 12, 2010 by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Mekong River Commission and the Mississippi River Commission, after collaboration brokered by the U.S. State Department and the Nations of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
“The Mekong River Commission visited USACE headquarters in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Louisville Districts prior to coming to Nashville District, southernmost district in the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division,” said Joanne Mann, executive assistant/congressional liaison, Nashville District.
The sister commissions share research, expertise and experiences related to how river systems adapt to climate change, water resource management and forecasting during floods and droughts, hydropower, managing competing demands for water use, navigation improvements, flood security, fish passage, wetlands restoration and maintaining water supply, according to the MOA.
“This was a reciprocal visit by the Mekong River Commission as the Mississippi River Commission visited Southeast Asia May 10-20, 2013,” said John Emmerson, USACE Pacific Ocean Division project manager. “The MeRC has visited the MiRC and New Orleans in 2011 and Columbia River Gorge prior to this visit supporting the sister river partnership MOU signed in May 2010,” Emmerson added.
Mississippi River Commission
The Mississippi River Commission was established by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1879, and charged with developing plans to improve the condition of the Mississippi River, foster navigation, promote commerce and prevent destructive floods.
Headquartered in Vicksburg, Miss., the organization provides water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the Administration, Congress and the Army in a drainage basin that covers 41 percent of the United States and parts of two Canadian provinces by overseeing the planning and reporting on the improvements on the Mississippi River. Its mission is to lead sustainable management and development of water related resources for the nation’s benefit and the people’s well-being. For additional information on the MRC go to: http://www.mvd.usace.army.mil/About/MississippiRiverCommission(MRC).aspx.
Mekong River Commission
The Mekong River Commission is an intergovernmental river basin organization built on a foundation of nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience in the region. Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam signed the “Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin” on April 5, 1995. This agreement formed the Mekong River Commission which provides the institutional framework to promote regional cooperation in order to implement the 1995 Agreement. It serves its Member States by supporting decisions and supporting action on sustainable development, protection of ecological balance and poverty alleviation as a contribution to the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The mission of the MRC is to promote and coordinate sustainable management and development of water and related resources for the countries’ mutual benefit and the people’s well being.
The MRC enjoys the status of an international body. It has signed several agreements and holds obligations with donors, development partners and the international community. It consists of three permanent bodies: Council, Joint Committee and Secretariat. Acting as focal points for the Commission in each of the Member Countries are the National Mekong Committees. The MRC holds an official dialogue with the two upstream states of Mekong River Basin, China and Myanmar, which are not signatories of the 1995 Agreement but are official Dialogue Partners. The Commission also has formal agreements for cooperation with a range of regional and international organizations. For additional information on the MRC go to www.mrcmekong.org.