Restoring America's River
Hear directly from members of the Nicollet Island Coalition about threats to the Upper Mississippi River and how the taxpayer dollars can be better spent on restoration rather than ecosystem destruction.
The locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River have significantly damaged – and continue to degrade – the Mississippi River. This infrastructure is the most heavily subsidized of all the private transportation industries and it is one of the most environmentally damaging.
Advocates for the river’s health are calling on Congress to use taxpayer dollars to restore the river and the economic benefits it provides to local economies and the country instead of subsidizing the destruction of critical ecosystems. A new report by experts from the Nicollet Island Coalition, a group of conservation and economic organizations working in the Upper Mississippi River basin, outlines how to accomplish this. READ FULL PRESS RELEASE....
"Restoring America's River" by Olivia Dorothy, IWLA Regional Conservation Coordinator
The Upper Mississippi River is one of the most visited areas in the United States for recreation, with some 12 million visitors annually. The people who come to hunt, fish, boat, hike, bird watch, or otherwise enjoy the natural beauty of the river contribute more than $6.6 billion annually in revenue to the region’s economy and keep 143,000 people employed along the river corridor.
However, the future of the UMR basin is at risk due to existing and proposed structures that “improve” the river. READ FULL ARTICLE.... (PDF link)
NICOLLET ISLAND COALITION
Restoring America's River: Using the Water Resources Act To Mend the Upper Mississippi River
The structures built to facilitate barge navigation on the Mississippi River significantly damaged river ecosystems. The UMR-IWW no longer fluctuates seasonally. Floods do not provide access to calm backwaters for fish to rear their young. Low flows that provide the right conditions for native aquatic plants to gain hold and grow have dramatically decreased. Native aquatic species – and the fish and wildlife that depend on them – are being threatened by significant habitat degradation. Gone are the small islands where migrating ducks and geese built their nests and hatched their young. Increased sedimentation is smothering native plants and fish habitat alike.
Transportation on the river is important for the region, but it is not a growing sector of the transportation industry. Traffic plateaued in the 1980s, and since the mid-1990s, commercial navigation on the UMR has continuously declined and is expected to remain low in the decades to come.
In this report, the Nicollet Island Coalition reviews how existing federal programs can be used to restore the UMR-IWW and create more diverse local economies along the river while maintaining the river’s role in America’s transportation system. As the next Water Resources Development Act is drafted, this report will provide Congress and taxpayers with environmentally and economically sound recommendations for improving these programs. READ FULL REPORT....