Two Combined Sessions
Interstate Work in the Upper Mississippi River Basin: Flood, Sediment, Drought, Nutrients and More
Speaker: Lauren Salvato
Substantial changes in land use throughout the Upper Mississippi River watershed compounded with climate-driven shifts in precipitation are impeding the safety and reliability of commercial navigation, the economic resilience of local river communities, and the ecological health of the river floodplain. Managing floods, droughts, and sediment on the Upper Mississippi River System, with its vast geographic scale, economic productivity, and globally significant resources, presents extraordinary challenges. The complex nature of river system and array of human uses requires thoughtful and inclusive dialogue among the diverse suite of stakeholder representatives throughout the region.
The Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA) has been coordinating the interstate river issues on behalf of Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois since 1981. The Keys to the River report represents a culmination of workshops, citizen information sessions, and ongoing dialogue with partners in the watershed to develop a suite of high leverage action items (priorities that enjoy regional consent) to address floods, sediment, and drought. UMRBA would like to present on the high leverage action items associated with the report as well as complimentary legislation, the Water Quality Improvement Act, to bring additional federal resources to the five states to increase the implementation of conservation practices on the landscape.
How Climate Change is Impacting Mississippi River Health: Can We Adapt Quickly Enough to Produce Meaningful Change?
Speaker: Shawn Giblin
The Mississippi River has been experiencing a dramatic increase in flow (discharge) during recent decades. Increasing flow is resulting in widespread ecosystem degradation including: loss of floodplain forest, destruction of island habitat, dissection of river islands, loss of water depth in backwater lakes due to sedimentation, and degradation of fish and wildlife habitat.
Despite these many challenges there are adaptive measures we can take now in the form of habitat restoration projects that will allow us to adapt and cope with the wetter and warmer future that is likely to come. Examples will be presented of successful, science-driven, projects that have allowed us to adapt to rapidly changing conditions in select locations. This presentation will outline the many challenges we are currently experiencing and presents actions we can take, stating now, to create a resilient Mississippi for future generations. The need is great and the time to act is now!