Arkansas Waterways Commission

Our Rivers. Our Responsibility.


Mississippi River

The largest commercial river in the country forms 320 miles of the eastern border of Arkansas. Approximately 200 million tons of commodities pass by the state on the waterway each year. Public ports in Arkansas are located at Osceola, Helena-West Memphis, and Yellow Bend, near McGehee. 

Learn more about the Mississippi River by visiting

Osceola River Port Authority Development
Highlighted below are pictures and PowerPoints from the Osceola Port Authority meeting that took place on July 24th, 2019.

  1. Waterways Commission - AEDC Opportunity Zone Draft presentation
  2. AWC Director Deidre Smith's Presentation 
  3. Osceola Port Authority and The Inland River System Presentation

Helena Harbor Updates

Arkansas Senator John Boozman was recently briefed on the progress of important infrastructure projects needed to improve Helena Harbor and make it an attractive place for new industry to locate. John C. Edwards of Helena Harbor visited with Boozman on July 19 in Memphis, Tennessee prior to a Change of Command ceremony for the Memphis District of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Edwards updated Boozman on the status of the 500,000 gallon water tower to be constructed at Helena Harbor. The closest water tower is over 6 miles away and an elevated tank is needed to maintain an appropriate water pressure. The tank design was approved last month by the Arkansas Department of Health.

Funding for a portion of the estimated 2.1 million dollar cost of the tank is being sought from the Economic Development Agency, a federal entity that supports economic development. A grant from the Walton Family Foundation is funding the engineering cost. 

During the visit, Edwards noted how critical federal investments are to completing major infrastructure needs like water and wastewater projects. Major projects take years to pull together with planning and engineering, according to Edwards, and it is helpful for entities like Helena Harbor to know there will be reliable funding assistance. Boozman stated that he is “looking forward” to visiting Helena Harbor in the future to learn more.

In 2017, Helena Harbor completed the first master plan in its history as a road map on how to move forward with the building of “enabling” infrastructure needed to make the Helena Harbor site a truly competitive one. The plan was drafted with the assistance of the Jacobs Group, a world leader in industrial park design and funded in part with a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.

“With the support of The Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, the Arkansas Electric Cooperatives/ Woodruff Electric, the Walton Family Foundation and the Arkansas Waterways Commission, we are making real progress to achieving the goals noted in the master plan,” noted Edwards.


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