Tell the Upper Mississippi River Governors that we need a Flood Study!

Flooding on the Upper Mississippi River | Photo by Crystal Dorothy

 

Climate disruption in the Upper Midwest is driving more intense precipitation events that are causing more frequent and prolonged flooding, similar to what the region experienced in 2019. 

Federal funding is available for a Watershed Study and Integrated Water Management Plan for the Upper Mississippi River Basin. But the Governor’s of Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin walked away from the money after insisting the study focus on the needs of commercial navigation and industrial agriculture. 

Their failure puts lives at risk.

Communities along the Upper Mississippi are woefully unprepared for the new climate reality. The current “everyone for themselves” flood management approach adds a layer of chaos to an already chaotic natural disaster. And hundreds of years of shortsighted floodplain and watershed development decisions have cut the river off from hundreds of thousands of acres of floodplain, degraded vital fish and wildlife habitat, and reduced the watershed’s ability to absorb and slow runoff. These haphazard water management decisions are putting people and property at risk.

Action is needed now to change our flood management approach. We need a Watershed Study and Integrated Water Management Plan that

  1. Coordinates river and watershed management actions, 
  2. Ensures vulnerable communities are involved in the decision-making process, 
  3. Accounts for climate change,
  4. Gives rivers room to flood safely, and 
  5. Restores lost habitat.

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