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River RepublicThe Fall and Rise of America's Rivers$
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Daniel McCool

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161312

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161312.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Planters, Sawyers, and Snags

Planters, Sawyers, and Snags

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

(p.25) 2 Planters, Sawyers, and Snags
River Republic

Daniel McCool

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the history of American river development through one of its major proponents, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers is one of the oldest agencies in the federal government, created when Washington, DC, was both literally and figuratively a swamp. By 1824 the principal transportation corridor linking together the growing nation was the Mississippi River and its largest tributary, the Ohio. Congress ordered the Corps to rid those rivers of dangerous “planters, sawyers or snags.” This was the beginning of a long era of expansion for the Corps—an era that has yet to end. The Corps adopted the motto “Building Strong,” intended as a reference to the durability of its construction works, but also a telling metaphor for the political relationships the Corps has nurtured over two centuries. Among its projects are Elk Creek Dam in Oregon and the Kissimmee River restoration project in Florida.

Keywords:   American rivers, American river development, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Congress, construction works, Elk Creek Dam, Oregon, Kissimmee River, river restoration, Florida

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