The Mississippi River is facing severe ecological decline, but a new bill would create the solution.
The nation’s most iconic and ecologically important waterway is at risk. Home to diverse aquatic species and wildlife, the river serves as a migration corridor for 60 percent of North American birds and is critical to mitigating flood risk for riverfront communities. The Mississippi River also provides drinking water for more than 20 million people and supports a $500 billion-a-year natural resource and recreation-based economy.
But all of that and more is under threat. The Mississippi is on the path to severe ecological decline. It suffers from excess nitrates, which harm fish all along the river and ultimately create a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. This costs the seafood and tourism industries more than $80 million a year.
The river is also experiencing widespread habitat loss and invasive species—such as Asian carp—that threaten the river’s fisheries and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Thousands of miles of riverfront communities rely on the Mississippi to mitigate and control flood risk, but if the river is increasingly unable to absorb dangerous flood waters.
The Mississippi River Restoration & Resilience Initiative (MRRRI) Act of 2021 (H.R. 4202) would create a collaborative effort to safeguard and restore the ecological health and resilience of the river.
MRRRI doesn’t rely on regulations. Instead, it’s modeled after a successful approach used for the Great Lakes that unifies efforts and provides federal funding. That funding supports critically-needed pollution reduction and restoration efforts to create more resilient communities.
Time is of the essence. If you support conserving native wildlife, clean drinking water, keeping our communities safe, and helping the economy, tell your congressman to support the Mississippi River Restoration & Resilience Initiative.
Photo credit: Aidan Formigoni