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A National Dialogue for the Future of America's Waterway


River Currents Newsletter - January 2013

Drought Underscores Missing Mississippi River Watershed Vision

It's been quite a fall and early winter for the Mississippi River. The drought in the Midwest set up a clash over water resources all within the great continental watershed. Experts say this clash isn't going to end any time soon.

One November editorial on the River provided a litany of the strain:
  • Yankton, S.D. : Slow water release to preserve the next Missouri River shipping season
  • North Dakota: A natural gas boom requires all the water they can get for fracking
  • St. Louis: Water levels sink to record lows on the Mississippi, threatening one of the country's main shipping arteries
  • A slowdown in Midwest grain shipping would spark export prices, affecting demand, affecting future seed prices …leading to farmers planting less grain next year.
In the words of the Quad Cities Times editorial, "From our Mississippi River bank viewpoint, we can't begin to pick priorities. That's why middle America needs a river management plan drawn up to reflect interests of all parties. These are America's rivers, vital in different ways to different communities."

By December, the Christian Science Monitor posited, "Even in a year that saw hurricane Sandy, the drought could be the headline severe-weather event of 2012."

2012's drought followed directly on the heels of 2011's floods. These events, combined with Washington's inertia in dealing with difficult decisions where conflicted interests abound, confirm the need we've always recognized for a National Dialogue for the future of America's Waterway. Now more than ever, representative and inclusive stakeholder input from throughout the river basin and its mainstem is needed. And the National Dialogue's design – based on AmericaSpeaks' proven process and principles – holds the key to that "river management plan [framework] drawn up to reflect interests of all parties."

University of New Orleans Professor Nominated to Mississippi River Commission

President Obama has nominated Dr. Norma Jean Mattei, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UNO for a nine-year term as a member of the Mississippi River Commission. She still must be confirmed by congress.

Four New Year's Resolutions for the Mississippi River

While New Year's resolutions may be out of style this year, America's Waterway blog makes a case for four resolutions worth attempting on behalf of the Mississippi River this year.

The Best of the Upper Mississippi: The Great Outdoors

Dean Klinkenberg, author of several Mississippi River travel books, including Driftless Area Travel Guide, has compiled a list of the "best views, best hikes, best range of experiences, in the upper part of the river" in his blog, "Blogging the Great River Road".

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Programs Manager is Internationally Renowned Ecohydrologist

Dr. Paul DuBowy returned in October from Portugal where he taught 15 of the world's top ecohydrologist graduate students through the Fulbright Specialist Program. In 2011, he taught a similar course in Poland. When he isn't teaching the brightest and the best throughout the world, he's applying his expertise in the Mississipi Valley Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Check out a full story on Paul at the Vicksburg Post.

America Runs on the Mississippi River

A guest blog by American Rivers' Devin Dotson explores the significance of the Mississippi River to the United States throughout history and in present day America as well.
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