Brig. Gen. D. Peter Helmlinger, commander of the Corps’ Northwestern Division, came to Boise recently, to meet with Congressional staff, public officials and stakeholders.
While there he discussed topics ranging from public safety and flood risk management to Regulatory and water-related issues.
He also made a stop at Lucky Peak Dam to tour the facility and meet the staff. During his visit, the general spoke about his priorities and vision for the Northwestern Division (NWD) as a whole, and specifically the role the men and women of the Walla Walla District (NWW) perform.
“My vision for Northwestern Division is the Corps of Engineers’ vision, which is to engineer solutions for our nation’s toughest challenges,” Helmlinger said. “And we do that in NWD, across the Columbia River Basin and Missouri River Basin, making a huge difference for our nation and our stakeholders.”
The Northwestern Division spans nearly 2,000 miles from the Pacific Ocean to St. Louis, Mo. to encompass the Columbia and Missouri river basins. It includes districts in Walla Walla, Seattle, Portland, Omaha and Kansas City and together they operate, maintain and manage 77 dams and reservoirs, 29 hydropower plants, and 1,600 miles of navigable channels.
It is these civil works projects that the general spoke to, addressing the Corps’ role in meeting the infrastructure needs of the nation. This year, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated the America’s infrastructure a C minus. This is a slight improvement from the D plus rating given in years past, however it is still far from ideal.
“The nation is committed to reinvest in our infrastructure for our aging dams, our aging locks, our other facilities, harbors and navigation facilities across the nation. So we will grow with that requirement,” Helmlinger said.
This will be a nationwide effort, one the Northwestern Division, and specifically the Walla Walla District, will be involved in.
“We have a massive program across NWD in the next few years and NWW will continue to support that by conducting their operations. Do what you do best, which is keep the lights on, keep the grain moving, keep the fish swimming, and be able to augment those other efforts around the division and around the nation as needed,” Helmlinger said.
During his visit to Lucky Peak, Helmlinger expressed his appreciation for the District, saying “Walla Walla District really shines and is perfectly meeting my expectations and my priorities to take care of people, support our partners and deliver the program. I’m immensely proud of the team members in Walla Walla District that have stepped up and answered every challenge that we’ve given them over the past few years.”
For its part, the Walla Walla District plans to continue expanding its legacy of excellence. For more information about the Walla Walla District, visit https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/About/ or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WallaWallaUSACE.