US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District Website

Discover the Illinois Waterway Virtual Forum

Hosted By: Col. Steve Sattinger - Rock Island District Commander

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has played a vital role in the management and preservation of the Illinois Waterway since the early 1930s when the 9-foot channel navigation project created a navigable connection between the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan. Today, the Rock Island District continues to operate and maintain six of the eight lock and dam sites that facilitate that connection and provides channel maintenance for 268 miles of the waterway.

The Rock Island District also serves to protect and restore habitat within the river basin through its regulatory and restoration programs. The District's area of responsibility encompasses more than 24,600 square miles in the state of Illinois and includes large portion of the Illinois River basin. Throughout this area, programs like the Illinois River Basin Restoration Program and the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program have provided resources for habitat restoration and environmental stewardship for more than 30 years. 

Another way the Rock Island District supports the Illinois Waterway is through its flood risk management mission. The District, in cooperation with its cost-share partners, has built nearly 100 flood risk management projects and more than 550 combined miles of levees and floodwalls along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and their tributaries. These projects include smaller, nonstructural measures as well as larger projects like the Farm Creek Reservoirs near Peoria, Illinois. Since their construction, these  projects have prevented billions of dollars in damages and provided protection for communities along the waterway. 

Virtual Forum Details

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020



9 a.m.       Welcome from Rock Island District Commander Col. Steve Sattinger and Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Illinois Rivers Coordinating Council Chair

9:05 a.m.  Environmental Sustainability: Preserving the River for the Future

10 a.m.      Inland Navigation: Powering the Midwest's Economy

11 a.m.      Flood Risk Management: A Shared Responsibility 


Log-in Information:

Participants are highly encouraged to connect to the online forum via
computer (with webcam), cell phone or tablet.
An "audio only" option is available for those who are unable to connect online.

Click on the boxes to the right for detailed instructions for connecting to the event.   →   →  →

Get an Inside Look at a Dewatered Lock on the Illinois Waterway

Click the link above for an inside look at the dewatered Peoria Lock. 


Environmental Sustainability:
Preserving the River for the Future



Ms. Jodi Creswell
USACE St. Paul District

Jodi Creswell serves as the Chief of the Environmental Planning Branch of the Regional Planning and Environmental Division at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District Office. Creswell has nearly 29 years of experience in environmental compliance, ecosystem restoration and planning with the Corps of Engineers and has held positions at both Rock Island and St. Paul Districts, as well as the Mississippi Valley Division and USACE Headquarters.


Ms. Gretchen Benjamin
The Nature Conservancy

Gretchen Benjamin is the Large River Specialist for the Midwest Division of The Nature Conservancy. Her work focuses on restoring and protecting ecological conditions in the Mississippi River and other national rivers, primarily working with the Corps of Engineers. Prior to working for TNC, Benjamin spent nearly 25 years serving in different capacities on the Mississippi for the Wisconsin DNR.

Mr. Loren Wobig
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Loren Wobig is the Office of Water Resources Director for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and has been working for the State of Illinois for over 30 years. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois, Certified Floodplain Manager, Civil Engineer, area Permit Engineer, Project Engineer, Project Manager, and Division Manager. Wobig has overseen floodplain regulation, flood hazard mitigation, NFIP coordination, dam safety and Lake Michigan regulation and water allocation programs in Illinois.

Mr. Marshall Plumley
USACE Rock Island District 

Marshall Plumley serves as the Regional Program Manager of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. In his current position, Plumley provides oversight to the UMRR Program which provides ecosystem restoration, science and monitoring to 1,300 miles of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

Mr. Andy Leichty
USACE Rock Island District 

Andy Leichty is the Assistant Chief of the Project Management Branch at the Rock Island District and serves as Program Manager for the Illinois River Basin Restoration Program and Project Manager for the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study - Brandon Road Project. He has more than 18 years of experience working with projects in the Rock Island District. 

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Inland Navigation:
Powering the Midwest's Economy



Mr. Tom Heinold
USACE Rock Island District

Tom Heinold serves as the Chief of the Operations Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. Heinold is responsible for overseeing approximately 500 employees who ensure operations and maintenance  of multiple facilities across the District including 12 lock and dam sites on the Mississippi River, six lock and dam sites on the Illinois Waterway. Heinold also oversees operations of five flood risk management reservoirs in Iowa and Illinois. 


Mr. Matt Coffelt
USACE Rock Island District

Matt Coffelt serves as a Program Manager in the Project Management Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. Coffelt  is responsible for managing the Operations & Maintenance Navigation program for construction projects which includes all  12 of the  lock and dam sites on the Mississippi River and six lock and dam sites on the Illinois Waterway.

Ms. Lynn Muench
American Waterways Operators

Lynn Muench is a Senior Vice President for Regional Advocacy at American Waterways Operators (AWO) for the Midwest and Ohio Valley regions managing key inland river issues with state legislators and federal agencies. Before joining AWO, she worked extensively on the infrastructure needs of the Upper Mississippi River Basin as Vice President of the Midwest Area River Coalition.

Mr. Paul Rohde
Waterways Council, Inc.

Paul Rohde is the Vice President of the Midwest Region of Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI), the Washington, D.C.-based policy organization advocating for a well-maintained system of inland waterways infrastructure and ports. He advances WCI's goals through legislative strategy & policy issues and has developed and executed a comprehensive public education campaign.

Mr. Jeremy Tardy
Illinois River Carriers Association

Jeremy Tardy is the Captain’s Committee Chairman for the Illinois River Carriers Association (IRCA) and the Director of Vessel Operations for American Commercial Barge Line. Tardy has spent 13 years working on towboats and has worked with shore-side management for the past six years. Additionally, he has been a USCG licensed mariner for 17 years and counting.

Mr. BJ Murray
Illinois Department of Transportation

BJ Murray is the Section Chief of Marine Transportation Program Planning for the Illinois Department of Transportation and is responsible for the development, review, and publishing of the Annual and Multi-Year Marine Transportation Improvement Program. Murray is also responsible for the Port Capital Program which consists of tracking, monitoring, and programming the Rebuild Illinois Port Capital Program Funds, managing the Illinois Marine Transportation System Plan and Economic Impact Analysis Study, as well as other transportation planning activities.

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Flood Risk Management:
A Shared Responsibility



Mr. Andrew Barnes
USACE Rock Island District

Andy Barnes serves as the Assistant Chief for the Programs and Project Management Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. He is responsible for ensuring execution of the District’s Navigation, Flood Risk Management and Ecosystem Restoration programs. He also serves as a Project Management Branch Chief, directly supervising Senior Program Managers for the Navigation Rehabilitation & Repair and Upper Mississippi River Restoration Programs.


Mr. Bill Milner
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Bill Milner is the Downstate Regulatory Programs Chief  for the Division of Resource Management within the Illinois Department of Natural Resources - Office of Water Resources. Milner's office is responsible for permits in public bodies of water and construction in a foodplain/floodway in multiple counties across Illinois. 

Ms. Monica Whetstone
East Peoria Drainage and Levee District

Monica Whetstone is the District Engineer for the East Peoria Drainage and Levee District.

Ms. Sarah Jones
USACE Rock Island District

Sarah Jones serves at the Chief of the Emergency Management Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. Jones has more than 25 years of experience in disaster planning, response and recovery operations and was the architect of the National Flood Fight Materiel Center which centralizes planning, acquisition, storage and distribution of USACE flood fight materiel.

Mr. Paul St. Louis
USACE Rock Island District

Paul St. Louis serves as a Senior Project Manager and is the Section 408 Coordinator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District. In his position, St. Louis leads large scale flood risk management studies and projects and has vast  experience in planning, constructing and permitting civil works projects as well as managing flood risk.

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