President Trump Appoints Kaiser, Owen to Mississippi River Commission

President Donald Trump recently appointed Maj. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser as the president of the Mississippi River Commission and Col. Paul E. Owen as a member of the commission. Commission appointments are nominated by the President of the U.S. and vetted by the U.S. Senate.

Maj. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser
Col. Paul E. Owen

Kaiser is the commander and division engineer of the Mississippi Valley Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, headquartered in Vicksburg. He serves as the senior military officer in the division, responsible for water resource engineering solutions in a 370,000-square-mile area, extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and encompassing all or portions of 12 states. The division’s work is carried out by six district offices located in St. Paul, Minnesota; Rock Island, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; Vicksburg; and New Orleans. Prior to assuming command of MVD, Kaiser served as commanding general of the Combined Security Transition Command and deputy chief of staff for Security Assistance, Headquarters, Resolute Support in Afghanistan.

Owen, who was confirmed for promotion to the grade of brigadier general by the U.S. Senate this month, is the commander and division engineer of the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, headquartered in Dallas. With four district offices in Little Rock, Arkansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Galveston and Fort Worth, Texas; the division encompasses all or part of seven states, and covers some 2.3 million acres of public land and water. As the SWD commander and division engineer, Owen oversees hundreds of water resource development and military design and construction projects. Prior to assuming command of the division, Owen served as the chief of staff for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.

The Mississippi River Commission was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1879, to plan and provide for the general improvement of the entire length of the Mississippi River. The commission studies and reports on modifications or changes made to the Mississippi River and Tributaries project, a project that delivers dependable navigation and flood risk management to the Mississippi River valley. Since 1928, the project has prevented more than $800 billion in flood damages, or $54 for every dollar invested, and is critical to the nation’s global economic prosperity, energy security, and arguably, the American way of life. The project reduces the risk of inundation and financial instability for a population of more than 4.5 million people; numerous power plants, oil refineries, oil and gas wells, and natural gas transmission pipelines; an agricultural industry consisting of 22.5 million acres of cropland valued at $51 billion; and manufacturing facilities that generate $106 billion in revenues and employ 207,000 workers.

The presidentially appointed Mississippi River Commission consists of three officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and three civilians, two of whom must be civil engineers. In addition to Kaiser and Owen, the current Mississippi River Commission is comprised of the following members: the Honorable Sam E. Angel, a civilian member from Lake Village, Arkansas; the Honorable R.D. James, a civil engineer from New Madrid, Missouri; the Honorable Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., a civil engineer from Metairie, Louisiana; Rear Adm. Shepard Smith, director, Office of Coast Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, commanding general of Great Lakes and Ohio River Division headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

For more information on the Mississippi River Commission, visit

Dam dog saves thousands of taxpayer dollars

Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Ellie, the border collie, protects Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam 15 from birds like the double-crested cormorant, which flock to the structure in the fall and winter months. The birds leave tons of waste that corrodes and damages the facility. (Photo by Brannen Parrish)

We first met Ellie, a black and white Border Collie, in October of 2015, when the staff at Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam 15 brought her on board to prevent birds from damaging the structure, and creating a hazardous environment for workers.

Double-crested cormorants perched at Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam 15 before the arrival of Ellie. The birds dropped more than 11,000 pounds of waste on the structure. (Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

You can see Ellie’s original story here: Dam’s best friend: Border Collie protects R.S. Kerr L&D 15

Now, a year later, Ellie is receiving some well-deserved praise for her ability to keep birds away from the dam and save taxpayer dollars.

Tulsa District Commander, Col Christopher A. Hussin presented the “Commander’s Civilian Service Award” to Ellie yesterday at a ceremony held at ORU CityPlex towers.
Ellie is a Border Collie that was brought on to chase birds away from Robert S. Kerr, Lock & Dam 15, which in turn reduced potential health hazards for employees and saved tax payers money.

For more info checkout this story on KJRH about “Ellie” the dog making a big difference at facilities on the McClellan Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.