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A National Dialogue for the Future of America's Waterway


River Currents Newsletter - August 2014

Mississippi River Venues for Citizen Input: USACE Low Water Inspections

Mud Island Landing is Memphis
USACE meeting site Aug 19.
"The public hearing process [of the annual low (and high) water inspections] is unique to the Mississippi River Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The benefits of hearing the issues and concerns first hand through the public hearing process are invaluable to the commission and the Corps," reads a recent news release on the upcoming USACE Low Water Inspection.

With so much happening on the Mississippi River, this is the time to show up. Meetings are scheduled for Aug. 15 - 22 at the Port of Rosedale in Rosedale, Miss.; City Front in Caruthersville, Mo.; Mud Island Landing in Memphis, Tenn.; and Enterprise Marine Dock in Houma, La. All meetings are at 9 a.m.
Issues facing the Mississippi River have never been more immediate: aging infrastructure; implications of climate change; invasive species; access to recreation and tourism. The list goes on.

The Mississippi River Commission not only maintains the River for public safety and commerce, it includes an intent within its mission "to lead sustainable management and development of water related resources for the nation's benefit and the people's well-being." It can't do that without your help. So show up, speak up and engage.

America's Watershed Initiative Summit: Attend & Engage for the Mississippi River
The calls for more unified approaches to the Mississippi River are growing. America's Watershed Initiative holds its bi-annual summit Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 in Louisville, Ky. Cross-sector engagement on behalf of the watershed is front and center. One of the focal points of the summit is the unveiling of progress on the Watershed Report Card. Participants will review the water quality and water quantity issues in the context of the Report Card and work together to flesh out issues and implementation.

This is your opportunity to have a voice in measuring the health of the Mississippi River. All who share a stake in the future of America's great river are encouraged to attend. For further information and to register, click here.

Another Mississippi River Water Quality Issue to Consider
Discussions at the AWI Summit will be just in time. New research released in July revealed a link between insecticides in rivers and the decline of honey bees. Called "neonicotinoids", the U.S. Geological Survey research showed their presence in nine Midwestern rivers, including the Mississippi. The concentrations are still below the Environmental Protection Agency's toxic levels, so this new evidence is timely for the future of America's great river.

Creating Context for the River
The dangers of a lack of context in news drew a comparison for the Mississippi River in a recent America's Waterway blog. If we aren't aware of the whole river and don't understand its complexity as a system, we'll just drift from crisis to crisis and never come to unified solutions.

Speaking of Unifying the Mississippi River
More voices were added to America's Waterway's in calling for unified approaches to the Mississippi River at the 2014 Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration in July. Val Marmillion, America's Wetland Foundation (AWF) managing director, hosted USACE, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Port of New Orleans and Louisiana State University leaders who supported the need to establish a sense of ownership for the Mississippi River, if we're ever to get unified approaches. Sidney Coffee, AWF's senior advisor, added the voices of Mississippi River Network, Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative and the Water Institute of the Gulf.
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