Thu June 27, 2013
Mississippi River Mayors Vow To Support Army Corps Of Engineers
Mayors from along the Mississippi River are working on behalf of the Army Corps of Engineers to bring river issues to the attention of legislators.
A group of mayors from large cities like Memphis, Tenn. and St. Louis, Mo., and small towns like Prescott say people need to start looking at the Mississippi River as one large system with common goals.
The privately funded Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative signed a Memorandum of Common Purpose in St. Cloud, Minn. today, vowing to push for economic and political support for the Army Corps of Engineers. Since the Corps can’t advocate for itself, the mayors say it’s up to them to push for infrastructure and ecosystem improvements, as well as better flood and drought control.
Mark Huber, the mayor of Prescott and one of four Wisconsin mayors involved in the group, says he’d like to see the Corps of Engineers be able to proactively fund maintenance projects. Currently, if a lock brakes, the Corps has to shift funds around in a moment of crisis.
Huber: “The idea here is to actually put together a plan to improve the maintenance and flow of the river so it’s more consistent. That’s going to be difficult with the increased dramatic changes with climate change, with no rain and no snow to too much rain and too much snow.“
River advocates often say it’s difficult to get people who live away from the Mississippi River to care about it. Last year, the mayors helped create a Mississippi River Caucus in Congress. Now, Huber says they want Mississippi River governors to form a similar, influential group.
The mayors are also exploring job creation along the river and clean water solutions.