The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division and its partners along the McClellan‐Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System hosted a media day event March 9, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the System that strategically connects the heartland of the United States with the rest of the world.
The MKARNS is a multi-beneficiary system: water supply, navigation, fish and wildlife, recreation, hydropower generation and flood control (when considered as part of the Arkansas River Basin Project and its upstream reservoirs that control water flows).
The MKARNS serves a 12-state region, due to the Port of Catoosa being the most westerly inland river port that is ice free 24/7/365. The states include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. Four are designated Foreign Trade Zones on the MKARNS at the Ports of Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Muskogee and Catoosa. 42 countries have traded commerce with the Arkansas River Basin Region via the MKARNS. Inland waterway transportation supports around 70,000 jobs in water transportation and around 800,000 jobs at industries dependent on barge-oriented commodities. 2018 tonnage on the entire McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System totaled 10.9 million tons, with a value of $3.5 billion.