Here in the Gulf, we understand the importance of the Mississippi. The Gulf’s ecosystem and communities depend on it for drinking water, navigation, fishing, recreation, agriculture, manufacturing, and restoring our disappearing wetlands. However, the Mississippi is often looked at as a polluted river, often used as the nation’s sewer. While there is some truth to that (approximately 250 sewage treatment plants and 550 industrial facilities discharge into the Mississippi River), the Mississippi is the foundation to multiple ecosystems and provides 18 million people with their drinking water.
Given the many challenges and uses the Mississippi River must contend with, it is not protected through a national program that looks at the river as one system. We are looking to change that through the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative (MRRRI). We are working with Representative McCullum (MN-04) to pass the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative (MRRRI) Act to do just that. This legislation was introduced to the House of Representatives in 2021 and would 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.
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. 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; and
- Make dedicated investments in those communities that have born the highest costs of environmental degradation.
This type of initiative has been done before, and we don’t intend to reinvent the wheel MRRRI will follow the successful model of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to ensure coordinated and sustained federal investments to restore and protect the Mississippi River, its Delta, and its communities.
As this bill moves through Congress, it is important to tell your Representatives and Senators how important MRRRI is and that they should support it, especially if they are in a state that drains into the Mississippi River (that’s 31 states!). We have made it as easy as possible for our supporters to do this [insert action alert]
Find the full text of the bill here.
View a fact sheet here with more information.
Original cosponsors of the MRRRI Act: Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-02), Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), and Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-03). Find the most updated list of cosponsors here.