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Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Representing the 4th District of Minnesota

McCollum Statement Honoring U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, On 150 Years

December 1, 2016
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Saint Paul District on 150 years of service to residents of Minnesota and the entire upper Mississippi region. The Saint Paul district has, over the past century-and-a-half, conserved our aquatic habitats, managed the effects of drought and flood damage, provided outdoor recreation areas for the public, and ensured that the products and services produced in our region have the ability to be transported safely via our waterways. This is only to name a few of the critical tasks performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Saint Paul District.

The Saint Paul District celebrates its birthday on August 17th every year because it was on that day in 1866 that Major General G.K. Warren, a West Point Graduate acclaimed for his leadership in the battle of Gettysburg, arrived in Saint Paul. His orders were seemingly modest: To establish an engineering office. He could not have known at the time, but the office that he established would go on to be entwined with the economy and history of the entire region. The first emergency that the St. Paul District responded to was the collapse of the Eastman Tunnel of Nicollet Island in Minneapolis. With expertise and precision, the Saint Paul district constructed structures to save both the island and nearby St. Anthony Falls. The structures that they built are still in use to this day.

Later on its history, the Saint Paul District supported the nation's mobilization during World War II. The Saint Paul District dredged the Minnesota River to the Port of Cargill, where Minnesota-based Cargill was building ships for the war effort. In addition, they also built an ordnance plant in Arden Hills, Minnesota, and airports in Fargo and Devil's Lake, North Dakota.

Today, any visit to the Mississippi River in St. Paul, showcases the work that the Saint Paul District does. The 13 locks and dams, and 9 foot navigation channel that the Saint Paul District operates and maintains, goes to support economically crucial inland navigation that benefits the entire upper Mississippi region. One of the most important tasks that the Saint Paul District has is to help communities combat the effects of flooding through disaster support and by the construction of flood risk management projects. This includes 16 large reservoirs for flood risk reduction that also offer recreation and fish and wildlife habitat. Another little known operation of the Saint Paul District is the operation of 49 separate recreation areas open to the public.

The Saint Paul District has supported the citizens of the Fourth Congressional District, and thousands of people in the upper Mississippi River region for 150 years. Every task that they undertake goes to benefit the people they serve by strengthening the local economy, enabling the movement of goods and people, maintaining and restoring natural aquatic ecosystems, and reducing and preventing the effects of floods and droughts. Mr. Speaker, please join me in congratulating the Saint Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on 150 years of service.