American Rivers last week named the Mississippi River one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2022, highlighting the threats that habitat destruction and pollution, combined with climate impacts, pose to millions of people across the basin.
In response to these threats, Congress has established a new non-regulatory, geographic program overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that focuses on ecosystem health, conservation and restoration of the Mississippi River through the passage of the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Act.
This initiative will coordinate efforts on conservation and environmental restoration along the entire river corridor and open up grant opportunities for state and local governments, tribes, and nonprofit organizations.
Alongside 90 additional organizations, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has endorsed the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative Act (MRRRI).
The MRRRI Act authorizes new federal investments to:
Improve community resilience to climate change, and reduce flood risk by restoring floodplains, riverine wetlands, delta and coastal wetlands, and backwaters
Improve drinking water quality in the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico by reducing polluted runoff
Protect and restore wildlife habitat and throughout the River corridor
Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in the River system
Make dedicated investments in those communities that have born the highest costs of environmental degradation
MRRRI will follow the successful model of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to ensure coordinated and sustained federal investments to restore the Mississippi River and protect it as a healthy working river.
The NMMA team will continue advocating for passage of MRRRI to ensure improved water quality, restoration of wildlife habitat and natural systems, reduction of aquatic invasive species, and improvement of local resilience to flooding and other natural disasters in and along the Mississippi River.