US Army Corps of Engineers
Great Lakes and Ohio River Division

Ohio River

Regional Water Management

Goal: Deliver enduring and essential water resource solutions through collaboration with partners and stakeholders

Ohio River Basin

Multi-Purpose Projects

  • Flood Control
  • Navigation
  • Water Supply
  • Irrigation
  • Water Quality
  • Recreation
  • Hydropower
  • Fish and Wildlife
  • White Water Rafting
  • Low-Flow Augmentation

The Ohio River drains America's Heartland, stretching more than 981 miles from Pittsburgh, PA to Cairo, IL where it joins the Mississippi River. Its 204,000 square mile watershed stretches north to south from New York to Alabama and east to west from Pennsylvania to Illinois. 14 major tributaries and 11 minor tributaries supply the river. Flows at its outlet range from 15,000 cfs to 1,850,000 cfs (3 orders of magnitude and nearly 9 times the flow over Niagara Falls.). There are 78 multi-purpose reservoirs. In addition, there are 31 projects that are operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The projects are maintained and operated by 4 Districts, with the Division having oversight and operational Ohio/Mississippi River flood control responsibilities. Even with all these structures only approximately 1/3 of the Ohio River Basin runoff is controlled.

Ohio River Profile

Water Management requires balancing competing interests to successfully operate corps projects. It is a collaborative effort that requires working closely with federal, state, and local agencies as well as other partners and stakeholders.

  • Model Ohio River daily and coordinate actions on locks and dams during droughts/contingencies in direct support of the navigation industry
  • Multi-purpose management and conflict resolution for competing water uses (deliver sustainable and integrated water resources management)
  • Prevent or reduce vulnerabilities and losses from natural and man-made disasters (i.e. flood control, dam and levee safety, drought mitigation)
  • Repair and prevent environmental losses (i.e. enhance river and lake ecosystems)
  • Operate for authorized purposes and evolving conditions
  • Implement collaborative approaches to effectively solve water resource problems

Mississippi River Commission

Goal: Provide water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the Administration, Congress, and the Army in a drainage basin that covers 41 percent of the United States

The Mississippi River Commission has a proud heritage that dates back to June 28, 1879, when Congress established the seven-member presidential commission with the mission to transform the Mississippi River into a reliable commercial artery, while protecting adjacent towns and fertile agricultural lands from destructive floods.

In its current capacity, the Mississippi River Commission oversees the Mississippi River & Tributaries (MR&T) project authorized by the 1928 Flood Control Act.

LRD's Mississippi River Role

  • The Ohio River contributes 60% of the flow to the Lower Mississippi River.
  • Under Section 7 of the 1944 Flood Control Act executes Lower Ohio/Mississippi River flood control operations through effective utilization of lakes Kentucky and Barkley.
  • LRD's Commander serves as member of the Mississippi River Commission.

Brigadier General
R. Mark Toy
Member of the Mississippi
River Commission

Mississippi River Commission


NOTICE: All data contained herein is preliminary in nature and therefore subject to change. The data is for general information purposes ONLY and SHALL NOT be used in technical applications such as, but not limited to, studies or designs. All critical data should be obtained from and verified by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, Water Management Team, 550 Main Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. The United States of America assumes no liability for the completeness or accuracy of the data contained herein and any use of such data inconsistent with this disclaimer shall be solely at the risk of the user.

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