Thursday, February 23, 2012

Northeast-Midwest Institute Launches New Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative

This week the Northeast-Midwest Institute launched a new Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative ("MRCI") to help create a strong and influential voice for the Mississippi River by organizing River cities and towns on matters of mutual concern.  Some 3.2 million people collectively reside in the more than 120 Mississippi River main stem cities and towns. These riparian population centers are soundly River-centric, and face many common issues, including degraded water quality and natural habitats, flooding and floodplain issues, a desire for River-focused recreation, the need for sustainable economies, and celebration of the River culture and history. Those population centers also represent significant sources of water pollution and habitat degradation in their own right, and therefore, are potential water and habitat improvement locales, as well.

One of MRCI's primary objectives is to dramatically increase demand throughout the River Basin and in Washington, DC for effective river protection, restoration and management by articulating and helping to drive multi-stakeholder solutions to nagging federal and state policy problems that currently impede such solutions. Toward that end, the MRCI is specifically intended to:
  • Give rise to a common voice from those who depend most upon the River - people living and working in and governing River cities and towns,
  • Span diverse cultural, political and economic arenas,
  • Tap into a nascent desire for integration of and collaboration among transportation, farming, industrial, municipal and environmental interests, and
  • Inspire and launch lasting solutions to River management issues.
You can read a "prospectus" further describing the makeup and goals of the MRCI here (as a PDF file). Persons with questions or suggestions regarding the Initiative should contact its Director, Colin Wellenkamp at the Institute by telephone at 202-464-4008 or by email at

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