April 24, 2017
Included in this Issue
  • Kelley Williams testifies
    in Baton Rouge on flooding issue
  • Mississippi River Facts
  • MRLA Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • Letter from the MRLA President - by Frank Smith, Jr.
Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • ***SAVE THE DATE***
MRLA will be hosting a timber and habitat management workshop!

 DATE:      Wednesday, May 24, 2017

 TIME:        3:00 pm

 PLACE:     5 O'clock on Deer Creek

 Please RSVP to [email protected]


Frank Smith, President
Bucky Murphy, Vice President
Chris Winter, Secretary
George Smith, Treasurer

Board Members

Ike Brunetti
Skip Graeber
Larry Garland
Curtis Hopkins
Milford Hough
Bruce Lewis
Rives Neblett
Buck Neely
Jamey Nicholas


5 O'clock on Deer Creek

Join us on May 24th and see for yourself what all the rave is about !

Letter from the President
by Frank W. Smith, Jr.

Several members have indicated a desire for MRLA to host an informal meeting as a forum for discussion of timber and habitat management.  The purpose would be simply to share ideas on any timber related topic ranging from logging operations to marketing of timber to habitat improvement.  This has long been an area where I think MRLA can add value for its members. 

In response, your board has set a meeting at Scott, MS (ten miles North of Greenville on Hwy 1) on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.  We will meet at 3:00pm at “5 o’clock on Deer Creek” with dinner to follow around 6:00pm.  Bubba Roden, owner and chef, has agreed to open the restaurant for our meeting (normal business days are Thursday – Saturday).  We realize that some of our clubs might not be able to travel to the Greenville area, thus, provided we have sufficient interest, additional workshops will be scheduled.

We envision that our agenda would include a panel discussion with representatives from several clubs discussing their timber and habitat management protocol, as well as a presentation or two from forestry and wildlife professionals.  We will encourage discussions, questions and identifications of common problems.

Please register by email ([email protected]) at your earliest convenience. We need to have a minimum of 20 participants for dinner in order to justify the restaurant opening, so a prompt response would be appreciated.

Thanks for your interest and we look forward to seeing you on May 24th.

Frank Smith

Kelley Williams testifies at the Mississippi River Commission Hearing in Baton Rouge.
  I testified at the Mississippi River Commission Hearing at Baton Rouge last Friday to make the point that the Mississippi from Vicksburg to New Orleans is flooding more (dangerously so) because it's not draining because the Corps isn't opening the drain (Old River Control Complex) down the Atchafalaya to the Gulf at Morgan City/Wax Lake.

I was the leadoff and the cleanup speaker which gave me time to finish - although the crowd was thin and the commissioners were restive when I wound up after 3 hours of blah blah blah.  About half of the others who testified said they agreed with me (Old River Control Complex should be used for flood control) - and one tried to give me his allocated 5 minutes.

No one disagreed.  Some unexpected supporters included the Executive Director of the Port of Morgan City, two environmentalist for the Atchafalaya Swamp, several farmers who farm on the Atchafalaya, and a director of the Atchafalaya Basin Levee Board.

There was more interest and support at Baton Rouge for using ORCC for flood control than at the MRC Hearing at Greenville last week and at the MRLA meeting in Vicksburg last month.  I suspect this is because the Baton Rouge reach is downriver and closer to ORCC and the people there understand its operation hurts them.

The presiding general and the civilian members of the commission had some questions and comments.  The essence was we will have our experts study your recommendation (Use ORCC for Flood Control instead of to maintain the 70-30 split of the flows of the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya to the Gulf).

The Corps ran a model of the 2016 January flood with an unfavorable cost/benefit analysis at a 50-50 split (more flow down Atchafalaya) and presented it at a meeting in Roger Wicker's office last fall.  The C/B considered only benefits for Lake Mary and the reach above ORCC and ignored Baton Rouge benefits - which would have changed the conclusion.

The model showed an 8.3 foot lower crest at BR which greatly reduced levee failure risk there and cut the flood from 51 days above flood stage to 0.  I used this as my leadoff argument in favor of using ORCC for flood control.  It resonated at BR.  It also makes it hard for the Corps to defend the status quo.

My theme was that the Corps wants to do its job (prevent floods) but can't because it has to follow a 1954 order (1954 Flood Control Act) that requires it to use ORCC to maintain the 70-30 split - and that we understand this and want Congress to change the order.  And that Congress will if the Corps says it's a good idea.

I think the commanding general knows that ORCC should be used for flood control.  But I doubt he will advocate the change without months or years of studies - because that's how the Corps rolls.   But this timeline could change if there is a a catastrophic levee failure due to the current operation of ORCC in the meantime.

Hope I'm wrong about the timing of the change.  The general's required written reply to my testimony may provide a clue.

Mississippi River
   The Mississippi River flows through ten states in the USA including Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

   The first bridge built across the Mississippi River was in 1855.

   The first railroad bridge was finished a year later in 1856.

   The Great River Road, which runs alongside the river, was created in 1938.

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