Press Releases

USACE Commander signs Chief’s Report for Selma Study

USACE, Mobile District
Published Oct. 8, 2021
Chief Reports Selma Oct 7 2021

Chief Reports Selma Oct 7 2021

MOBILE, Ala. – Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE Commanding General and 55th U.S. Army Chief of Engineers has signed the Selma Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study Chief’s Report representing the completion of the study and making it eligible for congressional authorization.

The Chief’s Report recommends authorizing a plan to reduce damages to historic buildings in the viewshed of the Edmund Pettus Bridge along the Alabama River in downtown Selma and, to enhance life safety in the surrounding city Wards. The Recommended Plan includes a Soldier-Pile Retaining Wall for bank stabilization along the Alabama River in downtown Selma and, a Flood Response Plan for the City of Selma to address life safety risk. The principal features of the plan include:

a. An approximately 1,000 linear foot Soldier-Pile Wall along the Alabama River in the vicinity of downtown Selma, Alabama with a top elevation of 110-feet (ft)-North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88). Components of the wall include:

  1. Approximately 94 Soldier Piles placed vertically into pre-drilled holes and grouted in place and approximately 22,500 total square ft of reinforced precast concrete lagging panels placed between each pile.
  2. Tie back anchors installed at multiple levels between soldier piles and the riverbank to provide lateral support.
  3. A drainage system consisting of porous gravel backfill material the wall to adequately drain during river drawdown events. Filter/geotechnical fabric to wrap the gravel backfill material to prevent seepage waters from eroding horizon soils.
  4. A perforated header pipe extending parallel to the slope of the riverbank with laterals which outfall to the face of the lagging wall to address both seepage waters and flood waters behind the lagging wall.
  5. Grouted riprap placed behind the wall at the bottom of wall to retain backfill material from escaping beneath any potential voids at the interface of the bottom of the Soldier-Pile Wall and the riverbank.
  6. A secondary, set back, cast-in-place retaining wall structure constructed in areas along the proposed project site where determined necessary to retain soils above the top of wall elevation of 110-ft-NAVD88.


b. A Flood Response Plan to provide the City of Selma with a comprehensive document to direct actions to reduce life safety risk in the event of an incoming flood. The principal features of this document include:

  1. The identification of flood prone areas through floodplain mapping of several forecasted stages based on river stage forecasts.
  2. The identification of flood fighting actions to reduce impacts.
  3. The appropriate level of response based on river stage forecast.
  4. Evacuation routes for inhabited, flood prone areas.
  5. Identification of critical infrastructure at risk.

“Selma is a historic national treasure,” said Col. Jeremy Chapman, Mobile District Commander. “Mobile is proud to play our part in preserving it for our future generations.”

The Chief’s Report will now be submitted to the congressional authorizing committees for transmittal to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA (CW)) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for administration review. Subject to the availability of Federal appropriations, and the cost-share match from the non-Federal sponsor, Preconstruction Engineering and Design (PED) with then be initiated.

The Chief’s Report and associated documents are available at: Mobile District > Missions > Program and Project Management > Civil Projects > Selma, Alabama Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study (




With an area of operation across Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and northern Florida, and a vast military region that includes operations across Central and South America, the Mobile District’s award- winning teams of engineering, construction, regulatory and emergency management professionals are nationally recognized for their leadership in delivery of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works and military programs missions to the Nation.





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Release no. 21-017