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Critical drainage channels to be maintained

Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Aug. 12, 2020
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IN THE PHOTOS, aerial photos of ditches representative of 1 and 251. Contracts were awarded to authorize contractors to go in and return a total of 89 miles worth of drainage channels 1 and 251 to their authorized levels of flood protection.

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IN THE PHOTO, an aerial photo of a ditch representative of ditches 1 and 251. Contracts were recently awarded to authorize contractors to go in and return a total of 89 miles worth of drainage channels to their authorized levels of flood protection.

Throughout its history, the Lower Mississippi River Flood Plain has been besieged by floodwaters; that’s why flood risk management is one of the Memphis District's major mission areas. We serve as the first line of defense for the entire lower Valley.

Working to execute this mission and serving as that first line of defense, a Memphis District Project Delivery Team awarded three major contracts to perform maintenance on drainage channels 1 and 251, which are located in the Little River Drainage District in Southeast Missouri.

The contracts are for lower Ditch 251, upper Ditch 251, and upper Ditch 1 and authorize contractors to go in and return a total of 89 miles worth of drainage channels to their authorized level of flood protection.

Jairus Stroupe, the project manager who led the group responsible for executing these contracts, said maintaining these drainage channels is necessary because of the way the Little River Drainage Basin naturally fills the ditches with sediment.

"Over time, drainage channels naturally fill in with sediment and debris which eventually cause adverse hydrologic impacts such as channel scouring, flow meandering, and a reduction in flood capacity within the channel which allows water to flow out of the channel’s banks,” Stroupe said. “Channel cleanout projects are crucial for maintaining the capacity of the drainage conveyance to a) prevent damage to adjacent agricultural areas, b) reduce the chances of flooding of nearby roads and infrastructure, and c) reduce the risks of flooding and the threats to communities throughout our nation."

Stroupe also said the Little River Drainage District Ditches provide critical drainage for approximately two million acres or 3,100 square miles in Southeast Missouri.

“With one third of agricultural commodities for the State of Missouri raised in this region, the work to be performed as part of the three channel cleanout projects, encompassing almost 90 miles, will provide a huge benefit for the State and the Nation,” Stroupe added. “Top bank shaping is important to maintain channel slope stability which reduces sedimentation into the channel and provides for safe inspection and maintenance of the channel.”

Stroupe continued on to say that channel excavation is important to maintain the design flow line and cross section. 

“By keeping the design cross section maintained, you ensure maximum hydrologic functionality of the system and help prevent what seems to be minor issues from becoming major repairs.”

The Lower Ditch 251 contract was awarded June 11 to Babcock Service Disabled Veteran SDV, LLC in the amount of $5,072,511. The purpose of this project is to return a 21 mile reach of Ditch 251 to its authorized level of flood protection. The contractor will begin mobilizing later this month with the project scheduled to be complete by June 2022. Project Delivery Team Members include Jairus Stroupe (Project Manager), Laurie Green (Tech Lead), Don Davenport (H&H), Chris Billingsley (Survey), Andrea Carpenter-Crowther (Biologist), Jeromy Carpenter (Cost), Jonathan Fili (Geotech), Brian Cagle (Construction), Brian Johnson (Real Estate), Sequoria Wilson (Contracting).         

The Upper Ditch 251 contract was awarded July 31 to Randy Kinder Excavation in the amount of $8,890,292. The purpose of this project is to return a 30 mile reach of Ditch 251 to its authorized level of flood protection. The contractor will begin mobilizing within the next few months with a tentative completion date of September 2022.  Project Delivery Team Members include Jairus Stroupe (Project Manager), Laurie Green (Tech Lead), Don Davenport (H&H), Chris Billingsley (Survey), Andrea Carpenter-Crowther (Biologist), Jeromy Carpenter (Cost), Jonathan Fili (Geotech), Brian Cagle (Construction), Brian Johnson (Real Estate), Judy Stallion (Contracting).     

The Upper Ditch 1 contract was awarded July 31 to Babcock Service Disabled Veteran, LLC in the amount of $7,962,753. The purpose of this project is to return a 38 mile reach of Ditch 1 to its authorized level of flood protection. The contractor will begin mobilizing within the next few months with a projected complete date of September 2022.  Project Delivery Team Members are Jairus Stroupe (Project Manager), Jeff Gafford (Tech Lead), Josh McLarty (H&H), Chris Billingsley (Survey), Andrea Carpenter-Crowther (Biologist), Kevin Keller (Cost), Jonathan Fili (Geotech), Brian Cagle (Construction), Brian Johnson (Real Estate), Kimberly Danielray (Contracting). 

Returning each ditch to its authorized level of flood protection involves clearing and snagging, channel excavation, and disposal and shaping of the excavated material.

The Memphis District thanks sponsor, Mr. Dustin Boatwright from the Little River Drainage District, for his continued support in maintaining these channels. Partnership like this ensures effective flood protection stays intact.