U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced that the Corps of Engineers will be relocating a cutterhead dredge to the Port of Lake Providence to make the channel navigable again. Maj. Gen. John W. Peabody, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, made the commitment to Sen. Landrieu on a call this morning. The cutterhead dredge is expected to arrive in Lake Providence within two weeks. The Corps will continue searching for opportunities to expedite relocation of the dredge.
In recent weeks, the Port of Lake Providence, which is critical for the export of crops produced in North Louisiana, has become idle due to low water levels as evidenced by the severe drought across the United States' breadbasket in the Midwest.
"Fortunately, Louisiana has been spared the worst of the drought and is on track to have a bumper harvest. Dredging will reopen this critical shipping channel in time for the harvest season and allow our farmers to get their crops to market," Sen. Landrieu said. "I commend Rep. Alexander for his leadership in working with the Corps to reach this solution."
The cutterhead dredge coming to Lake Providence is one of only two such dredges currently available for use in the vicinity. Sen. Landrieu has consistently warned that the Corps is one of the most underfunded agencies and that such low operating levels put lives, communities and businesses at risk.
"There is no other agency more underfunded and under-resourced in the entire country than the Corps of Engineers," Sen. Landrieu continued. "The situation in Lake Providence is a good example of what happens when we don't have adequate manpower, equipment and the resources to get the job done. As Congress continues the FY13 appropriations process, I will continue working with my colleagues to address this issue."