The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit welcomes new commander

Published July 12, 2012
DETROIT – Lt. Col. Robert J. Ells assumes command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, in a time-honored traditional Change of Command ceremony held today, Thursday, July 12.

As District Engineer, Ells, along with the District's more than 400 employees, oversees a more than $80 million program. “We accept with pride our role in protecting, maintaining and improving the Great Lakes -- one of our Nation's most precious natural resources.”

The district’s area of responsibility includes all of Michigan and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana – a total area of 82,000 square miles of land with 4,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. Approximately 14 million people live within the District’s boundaries. The District maintains 611 miles of channels and 95 harbors including connecting channels on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and part of Lake Erie. Much of this work is carried out through four area offices located in Detroit, Grand Haven and Sault Ste. Marie, all in Michigan, and Duluth, Minn.

Supporting the Great Lakes Navigation System, the Detroit District, established in 1841, investigates, plans, designs, constructs, operates and maintains congressionally authorized water resource projects related to navigation, flood control, hydropower production and recreation. The district also provides support to tribal nations, international organizations and other federal, state, and local government agencies. As a steward of the environment the Detroit District exercises regulatory authority over wetlands adjacent to navigable waterways and completes ecosystem restoration projects throughout the region.

In addition, our employees support Overseas Contingency Operations and are poised to provide emergency management and disaster response services in times of crisis.

Ells recently served at Fort Bragg, N.C. Ells’ photo and biography are available on our website

Ells assumes command from Lt. Col. Michael C. Derosier who served the district well for the last two years and will move on to serve at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

Lynn Rose

Release no. 071212-01