"Raising the Grade" is the theme for the 9th Annual Upper Mississippi River Conference (UMRC), which will be held in October and focus on the health of the Mississippi River watershed and what can be done to improve water quality.
The "Report Card for the Mississippi River Watershed," released last October by America's Watershed Initiative (AWI), rated the condition of the overall watershed as D+.
"The Mississippi watershed faces many interconnected challenges," Kathy Wine, Executive Director of River Action, Inc., said. "A working conference is a necessary step in developing a shared vision, to identify and form partnerships, and to advance solutions in the Upper Mississippi and beyond. We hope this conference will result in solid recommendations for improving each of the graded sectors of the AWI Report Card."
Wine said the conference will bring together a wide array of stakeholders in the Mississippi River, including elected officials, planners, educators, engineers, architects, landscape architects, economists, environmentalists, floodplain managers, and those in public works and the transportation industry.
"We want this conference to be a chance for attendees to network, learn and collaborate in working sessions dedicated to the seven broad goals identified in the AWI Report Card, including ecosystems, economy, recreation, flood control and flood risk management, transportation, water supply, and Gulf hypoxia," Bob Sinkler, water infrastructure director for The Nature Conservancy, said.
"Measuring seven broad goals for the watershed using factual data and pertinent information identified by experts, the Report Card indicates how well we – as river citizens – are meeting these goals. With a grade of D+, we have a lot of work to do to protect one of America's most important resources," Sinkler said.
The conference also will offer attendees the opportunity to earn continuing education credits (number will vary by discipline).
The Mississippi River watershed encompasses all or part of 31 U.S. States and two Canadian provinces, and rivers in the watershed provide drinking water for millions of people.
Water flowing in these rivers is used to produce more than half of America's goods and services, including agricultural products worth more than $50 billion annually, and much of America's energy production, including nearly 25 percent of our nation's hydropower.
The transportation network in watershed moves millions of tons of goods, generating billions in economic benefit, and the system's rivers and wetlands provide unique wildlife, habitat and recreational opportunities.
For more information about the Mississippi River watershed and links to the AWI Report Card, visit: www.AmericasWatershed.org.
For more information about the upcoming conference, call River Action at (563) 322-2969 or email email@example.com