The 1 Mississippi campaign is just weeks away from a huge milestone: reaching 10,000 River Citizens. As we near that exciting milestone, we want to take a moment to recognize our allies who are simultaneously moving the River into the national spotlight. With each group tackling a different aspect of the River’s issues, our collective impact is strengthened.
- This year Congress formed a Mississippi River Caucus to pursue common legislative objectives regarding the River.
- Mayors along the River united as the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, in order to have a greater influence on solutions to River issues.
- The Mississippi River Nutrient Taskforce convenes five federal agencies to tackle nutrient pollution.
- The Mississippi River Collaborative examines River management policy, permitting and standards.
- Through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative, the US Department of Agriculture is improving the River’s water quality by facilitating changes to agricultural practices, helping farmers implement voluntary conservation practices.
And, of course, there’s us!
River Citizens are a unique piece
of that very complex puzzle.
We are the voice of the PEOPLE.
We are 1 Mississippi.
The Importance of Partnerships is essential component to get the River national attention. The structures are in place to make tangible progress; but only when the people, the River Citizens, demand consistent cooperation and persistently press for practical progress, will there be enough energy to force meaningful improvements in River management.
Representatives, REPRESENT US!
In a democracy, the people must take responsibility, educate themselves on the issues and speak their mind. This part of the democratic process is even more important when Congress is up to their elbows in partisan squabbles, finger pointing and general mudslinging. With an approval rating averaging 15%, Congress has lost the trust of many Americans.
The thing is – Congress is made up of people, flesh and blood like you and me. They care about their children and grandchildren like the rest of us. Maybe the only way to get through the current stagnation is to get each individual to pledge to take personal action. If each person in Congress were to become a River Citizen, well, at least they’d have something in common.
Historically, protecting the environment is not a partisan issue; the Clean Water Act was passed with support from both parties, but this law needs to be effectively enforced. Congress also should get serious about passing a Farm Bill that includes responsible conservation policies and a modern Water Resources Development Act that addresses how the new reality of extreme weather exacerbates the water rollercoaster on the Mississippi River. It is not enough to create policy; we must put our money where our mouth is and authorize funds to get the job done. As River Citizens, Congressional leaders would be able to apply River Citizen knowledge and principles to these many avenues open to them to transform national River policy.
Let’s make a push right now to ask the people representing us to become
Our priorities should be their priorities.
Go Get ‘Em!
1 Mississippi Outreach Coordinator
Trivia: Another important player in the management of the River is the Army Corps of Engineers. They created the Mississippi River Commission (MRC), which is responsible for maintaining the Mississippi River as a navigable waterway as well as preventing flooding. What year was the MRC created?
a. 1952 b. 1939 c. 1900 d. 1879
“I am a River Citizen because the River is perfect. Man is not perfect. If man makes a mistake against the River, the River will find it, and exploit it.”
– John Barry, Author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America