Office of Coast Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

April 25, 2018

Hello Coast Survey,

As you may recall, I was appointed to the Mississippi River Commission (MRC) by President Barack Obama in December 2016. As a member of the commission, I participate in annual public meetings held along the river to engage with local partners, stakeholders, and residents on issues related to flood control, navigation, and restoration. Just last week, both Russell Callender, NOS assistant administrator, and myself attended the annual MRC high-water inspection trip where the commission hosted four public meetings aboard the Motor Vessel Mississippi.

I take the my responsibility on the Commission seriously. The MRC budget (through U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) is as big as all of NOS, and the risks are substantial to the people and economy of the Mississippi basin and ports. This year was a top-10 flood on the lower river, resulting in emergency operation of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in order to prevent flooding in New Orleans. These meetings also provide an opportunity for me to connect with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leadership as we are coordinating with them locally on channel surveying and charting. I am happy to discuss the MRC with any of you who are interested.

Rear Admiral Shepard M. Smith
Rear Admiral Shepard M. Smith
Director, Office of Coast Survey