Northwestern Division is one of nine U.S. Army Corps of Engineers divisions. Where once this frontier fired the imagination of Thomas Jefferson and tested the resourcefulness of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, its 21st century challenges are answered today by nearly 5,000 hardy spirits.
Awesome in its geographical breadth, economic, political and cultural diversity, the Northwestern Division is nearly 2,000 miles wide, enveloping 14 states, 65 Congressional districts and 107 sovereign tribal nations. Two of the country’s longest rivers – the Missouri and Columbia – drain nearly one million square miles within its boundaries that stretch from Seattle, Wash., to St. Louis, Mo. Its civil works, military, and environmental programs surpass $3.0 billion annually, with an execution rate second to none.
The Northwestern Division is organized to manage its districts’ civil works activities based on river basins rather than state boundaries. Its primary civil works missions encompass flood control, navigation, hydropower, fish and wildlife, water quality and irrigation, recreation, and disaster response. Within its jurisdiction are 77 dams and reservoirs, 29 hydropower plants, and 1,600 miles of navigable channels.
Military boundaries, in contrast, are organized along state lines. Major military programs include providing design and construction support to key Army and Air Force installations and managing almost two million acres of military real estate for the Department of Defense. An environmental restoration program oversees cleanup of hazardous, toxic, and radioactive sites for the military, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies. In recent years, nearly 800 Northwestern Division volunteers have stepped to the forefront in support of the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, lending their skills in the reconstruction efforts.
While Corps districts have civil works and military missions, they are frequently distinguished by the nature and amount of civil or military work they perform. In Northwestern Division, the districts that have a preponderance of military and environmental work are Kansas City, Omaha, and Seattle. The Portland and Walla Walla districts tend to have larger civil works programs. In all cases and from all quarters, the five NWD districts consistently achieve top marks for mission execution, customer satisfaction, and quality products.