After more than a decade of coordinating coastal concerns of five Gulf states, the America’s Wetland Foundation is looking north. The group will be heading as far north as Minnesota to study how best to use the Mississippi River that feeds the Delta.
The foundation is studying how to manage the river for the next century. Managing director Val Marmillion says local governments, businesses, universities, and non-profits will be included. He says it’s time for a national discussion about viewing the Mississippi River as a single ecosystem.
“We are hoping to both navigate this entire issue upriver and also agitate as we go. It’s necessary to do both so that everything comes out and we can sort of make the river a river for this century and not for the past century; one that really works for all interests in a coordinated fashion.”
Chairman King Milling says coordinating so many varied interests will take time, and can be done in phases.
“If we can end up developing a plan, let’s say, for the lower river, it’s far easier, then, to match that against what is required in the upper river, because we’re now in a position where we think we can accommodate the upper river over time being the funnel for every ounce of water that gets into it.”
Forums are planned in Memphis, St. Louis, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago.