Kansas City District News Stories

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Archive: 2023
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  • December

    District Officer Introductory Course offers unique learning experience for junior officers

    One common misconception about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is that most people who work for the agency are in the military. In fact, of the roughly 37,000 people who work for USACE, only about 800 are active-duty military, with the vast majority being civilians. Because there are so few uniformed USACE employees across the enterprise, an annual course was developed to bring them together to learn about the organization from a military perspective. The District Officer Introductory Course is an annual course that is designed to bring junior officers from all over USACE together to learn, collaborate and network. This year’s course was hosted by the St. Louis District in St. Louis, from December 4 to 8. The Kansas City District and the Louisville District both supported the course.
  • Years of partnership and perseverance leads to historic osprey nesting

    Osprey, a bird of prey, is the only species of raptor that dives feet first into the water to catch its prey—mainly fish. It’s no surprise then that osprey typically nest in and around bodies of water like rivers, lakes and on the coasts of North America. In Kansas, it’s not uncommon to see these majestic birds as they pass through the Midwest as part of their migratory habits. However, osprey have not historically bred in this area of the country. Until now. In the summer of 2023, Perry Lake, located in northeast Kansas, recorded the first successful osprey nesting and fledging in the state of Kansas’ history. Much like other raptor species, osprey experienced declining populations during the 1950s to 1970s due to the prevalence of lead and harmful insecticides. And just like other raptor species, osprey populations have begun to make a come-back after being protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
  • November

    Jack of all trades—cartographer, archivist and pilot all in one

    When asked to describe his job, long-time Kansas City District employee John Atkinson has a humorous response. “Jack of all trades, I guess,” he says. Officially, Atkinson serves as the district’s archivist and a cartographer in the Survey and Geospatial Data section. However, Atkinson’s diverse background and skillset, as well as his openness to trying new things, have combined to turn his career into something he never imagined. From deployments to piloting a drone to working with century-old photography, Atkinson’s work with the Kansas City District has been full of surprises.
  • Mill Creek restoration an example of interagency collaboration and innovation

    At approximately 9:30 p.m. on the evening of December 7, 2022, a pressure drop in the Keystone Pipeline system was reported by TC Energy Corporation. Not long after the reported pressure drop, a rupture was detected, and 588,000 gallons of oil spilled into Mill Creek. Located just a few miles northeast of the city of Washington, Kansas, the oil spill in Mill Creek was the largest in the history of the Keystone Pipeline and the largest onshore oil spill since 2014. This is a story that highlights the quick action of local emergency management, the vital cooperation between federal, state, local and Tribal partners, and the use of innovative bioengineering techniques resulting in a comprehensive restoration project. This is a story that also demonstrates how partners working toward a shared goal can accomplish the seemingly impossible.
  • Wilson Lake park ranger provides extraordinary skillset

    Park rangers are valuable teammates of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, as they are at the front lines working at our lake projects to ensure the public can utilize and enjoy the projects year-round. One park ranger who has spent the last 22 years of dedicated service with the Kansas City District is Matt Beckman.
  • October

    Shaping the future of the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant

    Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, located in Independence, Missouri, is the largest producer of small-arms munitions within the Department of Defense, turning out over a billion rounds of ammunition per year. This plant is a vital part of the past, present and future of the U.S. military. Production at the plant started in 1941, during World War II. Currently, it provides the majority of small-caliber ammunition for the U.S. military. It also performs ammunition development for the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program. LCAAP is doing important work, and its partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District is a key part of this success.
  • The 249th Engineer Battalion participates in the 2023 International Lineman's Rodeo

    On an overcast October morning, the 249th Engineer Battalion, Prime Power, came together with linemen from across the globe at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kansas, to showcase their unique skill set in the 39th Annual International Lineman's Rodeo. The event brought the U.S. Army’s power generation specialists to the forefront, emphasizing how their expertise goes far beyond the battlefield, proving essential to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A gathering of elite linemen from the United States, Brazil and Canada, this rodeo provided an excellent opportunity for the U.S. Army’s 249th Engineer Battalion to demonstrate its capabilities in full-spectrum operations.
  • Peaks and valleys: Northwestern Division leverages regional project sharing to complete the mission

    Comprised of nearly 37,000 employees, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is tasked with engineering solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges. Across the enterprise, many divisions and districts have seen a surge in workload over the last few years. While USACE has seen similar surges in the past, this increase in workload is larger than many can remember in recent history. The source of the current surge in workload is twofold. According to Col. Travis Rayfield, Kansas City District commander and district engineer, there has been an increase in funding from Congress through various infrastructure bills, which has resulted in more work across the enterprise. Additionally, The Economy Act allows federal agencies to enter into agreements to obtain supplies or services from another agency. This increase in funding for projects, coupled with an increase in resource sharing among agencies, has resulted in the surge in workload the enterprise is experiencing across the nation.
  • Proud to be Americano: Andy Guzman celebrates his Hispanic heritage

    In Spanish, America refers to the land that is both North and South America, not just the United States. In English, to say you are American means you are from the United States. But in Spanish, to say you are Americano means you could be from any of the 21 countries that span both continents. This distinction is important to Hispanic Americans, especially during National Hispanic Heritage Month. One of this year’s themes is “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One,” which gets at the heart of the matter — Hispanic heritage is diverse but united. For Andy Guzman, public affairs specialist at the Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate all Hispanic cultures and the language that unites them.
  • September

    Paddling the distance

    Each year, hundreds of adventurous paddlers brave 340 miles of the Lower Missouri River within a matter of 3 1/2 days as part of the annual Missouri American Water MR340 race hosted by Missouri River Relief. As the world’s longest non-stop river race, MR340 is a test of endurance. It is also an opportunity for people around the nation and world to learn more about the Missouri River and how the Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the lower Missouri River Basin. Within the training all paddlers must do before the race, a warning is given to keep an eye out for the structures along the Missouri River including dikes, chutes and revetments. These structures are placed and maintained by the Kansas City District, so the Missouri River is able to self-maintain a navigation channel.