The Corps story began more than 200 years ago when Congress established the Continental Army with a provision for a chief engineer on June 16, 1775. The Army established the Corps of Engineers as a separate, permanent branch on March 16, 1802, and gave the engineers responsibility for founding and operating the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Since then, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has responded to changing defense requirements and played an integral part in the development of the country. Throughout the 19th century, the Corps built coastal fortifications, surveyed roads and canals, eliminated navigational hazards, explored and mapped the Western frontier, and constructed buildings and monuments in the Nation’s capital. While the mission and tasks have evolved with the needs and priorities of the Nation, the dedication and commitment of the workforce has remained constant.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division:
- Is the part of the Nation’s number one federal provider of outdoor recreation.
- Is the part of the Nation's environmental engineer.
- Encompasses 355,300 square miles, all or portions of 17 states containing a population of more than 58 million people.
- Keeps the Ohio River system navigable.
- Protects American shorelines of the five Great Lakes
- Owns and operates multipul locks and dams.
- Maintains nine hydropower plants on the Cumberland River system with a capacity of over 900 megawatts.
- Has an Emergency Management Team in place to assist with any local, national and international emergencies.
- Was given the task of cleaning up the radiological waste from old Manhattan Project sites.
- Serves as a representative on the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes.
- Operates and maintains commercial inland navigation channels.
- Restores, creates, enhances or preserves wetlands under the Corps’ Regulatory Program.
- Supports Army and Air Force installations.
- Provides technical and construction support to various countries.
- Researches and develops technologies to protect the nation’s environment and enhance quality of life.