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Presidents FY 17 budget includes $99 million for Little Rock District

By Miles Brown

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District, reports that the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget includes $99 million in federal funding for the district’s civil works program.

USACE Little Rock




This is part of the $4.6 billion in discretionary funding for the Army Corps civil works program worldwide. The proposed funding will improve the reliability and resilience of the district’s multi-purpose reservoirs and inland waterway navigation system, while enhancing the environment, generating hydroelectric power, providing recreational activities to the public and reducing the risk of flooding.

The FY17 budget provides $56 million for operation and maintenance of 12 reservoirs across Arkansas and southern Missouri. The reservoirs provide flood risk reduction in the White River and Little River watersheds. More than 2.5 million people visit the district’s lakes each year for recreation. Additionally, several of the district’s reservoirs provide reliable drinking water to more than 400,000 people every year.

Also included in the budget is $42 million in operations and maintenance funds to provide reliable navigation via the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. The Three Rivers Study, a three-year study of navigation and environmental issues at the confluence of the Arkansas, Mississippi and White rivers, received $580,000 in the FY17 budget. The MKARNS supports the transport of bulk commodities and significantly reduces pollution and the wear and tear of roadways. More than 6,000 loaded barges carrying 12 million tons of material pass through district locks annually; that keeps the equivalent of 450,000 semi-trucks off the region’s roads.

A list of projects and proposed funds is available at the Army Corps of Engineers’ web site at, under the heading Program Budget: Press Books.

Little Rock District manages $6.5 billion in public infrastructure across 750,000 acres of public land and water. We are responsible for more than 300 miles of navigable waterways, 13 navigation locks and dams, seven hydroelectric power plants, 146 public parks, and 12 multi-purpose reservoirs which have prevented more than $3 billion in flood damages.

The district’s additional missions include emergency response and regulatory responsibilities in Arkansas. For more news and information about the USACE Little Rock District visit Find us on Facebook at

SWD Black History Month Spotlight: Tony R. Roberson

Tony R. Roberson is the Chief of the Military Integration Division, Programs Directorate, for the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Tony R. Roberson is the Chief of the Military Integration Division, Programs Directorate, for the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Tony R. Roberson has been the Chief of the Military Integration Division, Programs Directorate, for the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since April 2015. In this position, he is responsible for the execution of the Military, Environmental, and Interagency and International Services programs in the Division. The Division provides engineering, construction and environmental management services for nine Army and nine Air Force installations.

Roberson has worked for the SWD for 16 years and prior to working for the Corps, he held various positions working with the U.S. Navy, EPA and the private sector. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Savannah State University and a Master of Science in Environmental Management from Meridian University in Petaluma, Calif. Roberson, a registered Environmental Program Manager whose hobbies include organic gardening and bike riding, took a break from his day to share some thoughts on his inspirations, career and Black History.

Q. Who or what inspired you to choose your career field?
A. I attended Savannah High School and I was inspired to pursue a career in science by my science teacher Ms. Boller and also watching science fiction TV shows like Star Trek and Mr. Wizard.

Q. What advice would you share with teenagers about choosing a STEM related or government service career?
A. I would advise anyone to make sure whatever it is you choose, it’s something you have a passion for. As a government employee you can really make a difference in the lives of the people you serve.

Q. What has been your most memorable USACE project or program?
A. My most memorable project was being a part of the 2003 multi-agency task force for the Columbia Space Shuttle Recovery in East Texas. I worked as the Planning Chief at the Hemphill, Texas Command Post providing and scheduling resources, technical support and equipment for Environmental Personnel. The search and recovery involved thousands of people from federal, state and local agencies who conducted searches over large areas of East Texas. We worked every day throughout the 90-day duration of the operations.

Q. Black History Month, also known as National African American History Month, theme this year is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.” Is there a site or event in Black History that holds a special memory or meaning to you?
A. Yes. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the destructive aftermath. I was nine years old at the time, but I can recall the first time he visited my city of birth, Savannah, Ga., in 1964. There was a lot optimism and hope within the Black community and the city was looking forward to his return in 1968. Dr. King was scheduled to visit Savannah again, two weeks before his assassination, but bad weather prevented him from visiting. He once called Savannah one of the most “desegregated (cities) in the South”. Although some viewed his assassination in 1968 as a betrayal and assault on the dreams of the Black community, there was very little rioting and vandalism due to the rallying and leadership of the church and political leaders of all races. Black and white political and community leaders kept Savannah relatively calm, which was an example of what Dr. King stood for.

The official U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division publication