Renewing the call for a federal river restoration program

Great blue heron flying over water

This month, a bill to establish a national program to revitalize the full 10-state stretch of the Mississippi River was introduced in both chambers of Congress. 

River champion Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota’s fourth district reintroduced the historic bill, called the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative Act, in the House. Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin proposed the legislation for the first time on the Senate side. 

FMR, along with the Mississippi River Network and National Wildlife Federation, has been a driving force in this ongoing effort to create a place-based, whole-river program.

As reported in the Star Tribune, KIMT and other media outlets, if passed the bill would authorize federal funds for states, cities, tribal governments and nonprofit organizations to improve water quality, restore habitat and natural systems, reduce aquatic invasive species and build local resilience to natural disasters.

Increasing engagement

The revised version of the act, initially introduced in the House by Betty McCollum in 2021, incorporates feedback from diverse stakeholders. 

Amongst other changes, the current version explicitly outlines requirements for engaging with Tribal governments and organizations, including creating a Tribal Liaison role and dedicated funding through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Requirements for interagency consultation and engagement have also been expanded, and public input and commentary periods have been formalized. 

How you can help

You can endorse the call for a new Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Act if you're with an organization or business, or sign up to be a River Guardian below.

Become a River Guardian

Sign up and we'll email you when important river issues arise. We make it quick and easy to contact decision-makers. River Guardians are also invited to special social hours and other events about legislative and metro river corridor issues.

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