USACE Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit Concludes 2022 Revetment Season

By Anna Owens

USACE, Vicksburg District

March 15, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit (MSU) concluded the 2022 revetment season and returned to Vicksburg Harbor yesterday.

The MSU placed approximately 195,000 squares of custom articulated concrete mat (ACM) along the bottoms and banks of the Mississippi River. This process, known as revetment, acts as flexible armor to prevent riverbank erosion, protect flood control structures and provide reliable waterways for commercial navigation. The MSU works in close coordination with the USACE Memphis District Mat Loading Unit to deliver squares by barge to pre-designated sites along the banks of the lower Mississippi River.
The Mat Sinking Unit sinks articulated concrete squares into the Mississippi River during a recent revetment season. Each year, the unit sinks hundreds of thousands of squares into the river to fortify its banks. (USACE photo)
The Mat Sinking Unit sinks articulated concrete squares into the Mississippi River during a recent revetment season. Each year, the unit sinks hundreds of thousands of squares into the river to fortify its banks. 
(USACE photo)
The revetment season began July 19, 2022, with a ship out ceremony at Vicksburg Harbor. Crew members spent 235 days deployed, an increase in recent years that took advantage of low water levels due to drought conditions on the Mississippi River.

USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Christopher Klein commended the crew’s commitment to the extended season.

“Our Mat Sinking Unit crew is integral to our revetment mission,” Col. Klein said. “Their sacrifices ensure safe navigation and flood risk management for our nation. They truly provided a job well done. Welcome home!”

Unparalleled across the world, the MSU is a feat of skilled labor and technological innovation. A mat sinking barge, a mat supply barge, quarter barges, spar barges, gantry cranes, bulldozers and motor vessels are among the equipment used by the unit to help maintain the Mississippi River’s stabilization and navigation. During revetment season, the unit acts as a floating city, providing lodging and dining for over 300 crew members.

The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.
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