The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District will get $1.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2022, as a result of federal funding in two recently enacted laws — the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act; and the 2022 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

The $1.2 billion for the Rock Island District will enable it to carry out projects and programs in the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

The Mississippi River Lock and Dam 15 at Rock Island.

“This is a historic day for the Rock Island District,” Col. Jesse Curry, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, said in a Thursday release. “This represents funding that vastly outnumbers figures our District’s annual budget has ever seen. It’s testament to our professional workforce that they are trusted to carry out the kind of workload this funding will bring.”

Rock Island District is set to receive two priority construction new starts, one through the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) and new start funding for the Brandon Road Interbasin Project.

“NESP has been authorized for more than a decade, awaiting construction funding to bring about this critical, multi-billion dollar program,” said Kim Thomas, Deputy for Programs and Project Management for the Rock Island District. “Our regional team has fully utilized several years of preconstruction, engineering and design (PED) funds to develop construction ready projects and now will be able to start delivering on the significant navigation improvements as well as the environmental enhancements laid out within the NESP authorization. This funding is the first step toward construction.”

The Brandon Road Interbasin Project, which is designed to stop the spread of invasive carp and other species into the Great Lakes, received $226 million to complete the preconstruction, engineering and design phase (PED) and initiate construction.

In December 2021, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Michael Connor, and USACE Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, Maj. Gen. William Graham, visited Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet.

“Support for the Brandon Road Interbasin Project, which is a complex ecosystem protection effort designed to prevent upstream movement of invasive carp and other aquatic nuisance species into the Great Lakes from the Illinois Waterway, is also a key element for keeping one of Rock Island District’s critical environmental efforts on track with continued design and its anticipated construction timeline,” Thomas said.

The Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Ill., has been identified as the critical pinch point where layered technologies could be used to prevent movement of invasive carp populations into the Great Lakes.    

Pre-construction engineering and design of the Brandon Road Interbasin Project was initiated Dec. 29, 2020, when the state of Illinois signed a design agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. This phase of the project, known as PED, is estimated to last three years, cost $28.9 million, and be cost shared 65 percent federal, 35 percent non-federal.

In addition to the new start construction funding, Rock Island District will receive nearly $170 million to carry on critical operations and maintenance work through the District’s area of responsibility.

“So much of our operational infrastructure, like locks and dams, lakes, and recreation sites, are aging,” Curry said. “Our managers and maintenance crews do an excellent job of keeping this infrastructure operating efficiently but even in areas where we’ve made recent investments, there is a need for more to safeguard long term reliability of this infrastructure. Infrastructure that is critical to our nation’s economy, environment, and well-being of our communities.

“This new funding coming from the IIJA will not only provide much of that needed investment to infrastructure, but it will also bring thousands of great jobs of all types to the region,” he added.

Rock Island District encompasses large portions of Illinois and Iowa, as well as smaller sections of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri. It operates three flood risk management reservoirs in Iowa — two in the Des Moines area (Saylorville Lake and Lake Red Rock), as well as one outside Iowa City at Coralville Lake. The District also operates and maintains 12 locks and dams on the Mississippi River, starting at Lock & Dam 11 in Dubuque and ending at Lock & Dam 22 in Saverton, Mo.

Each spending plan will be in continued support of Administration goals of expanded access to America’s ports through dredging, as well as building resilience in the face of global climate change, while benefitting economically disadvantaged communities and regions, and advancing environmental justice, the release said.

“The Army will work with community partners to leverage these historic Civil Works funds for investments that strengthen national supply chains through our commercial navigation mission, help communities impacted by climate change to increase their resiliency, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind,” said Michael L. Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.