We must work together collaboratively to implement solutions for improving water quality and quantity, inland waterway infrastructure, and the overall health of America’s Watershed.

October 2018

  • We call for $2 billion in annual investments from new public and private investment to ensure that America’s Watershed continues to drive our national economy, and protect the livelihoods of current and future generations.
  • We encourage greater collaboration and improved information to better manage an increasingly complex system for multiple benefits. We support more integrated decisions for the watershed to be made in a transparent forum based on goals established with input and participation of partners and stakeholders best available water use and ecosystem health data.
  • We recognize and support local leaders who develop and implement integrated watershed management solutions and invite their continuing participation as partners. The longer we wait to invest in raising the grade, the more it will cost our nation and our children’s future.

Economy

  • AWI supports completion of comprehensive economic studies to better document and understand the economic importance of major rivers to each basin of America’s Watershed.
  • AWI supports efforts to communicate the importance of water resources from the Mississippi River Watershed to the economic vitality of the country. The economic data needed to drive further investment in the watershed is generally lacking; therefore, AWI supports a comprehensive economic study of the watershed to document and communicate the value of the resource, and to encourage collaboration across state boundaries to leverage the full value of water resources for greater economic development in the watershed states.

Ecosystems

  • AWI calls for increasing coordinated investments and strategies to protect endangered species, reduce nutrient loading, protect and restore riparian vegetation, and reverse critical wetland loss trends in coastal Louisiana and across the watershed.
  • AWI supports open and cooperative engagement and decision making involving federal and state agencies, local groups, businesses, communities, and individual water users to optimize ecosystems and the broad range of services they provide in the Mississippi River watershed.
  • AWI supports broad-based, strategic initiatives that are working to protect and improve ecosystems and sustainably manage the watershed such as the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee, the Platte River Recovery Implementation Committee, the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program, and the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program and others. AWI supports these initiatives and other like them, and will continue to work to extend these principles throughout the watershed.
  • AWI supports activities that address multiple needs, such as beneficial use of dredged material from the navigation channel to reconstruct wetlands in coastal Louisiana.

Flood Control & Risk Reduction

  • AWI strongly supports stormwater and flood control programs that are designed to buffer high flow events, and are optimized for system-wide protection of life and property without compromising the watershed.
  • AWI supports funding for the continued maintenance and operation of large water storage projects for multiple authorized purposes.
  • AWI supports the creation and implementation of locally-informed, best practices to manage risk for developments inside the 500-year flood plain.
  • AWI supports increased funding for results oriented, fact-based levee inspections and operation and maintenance.
  • AWI supports research and the development of innovative tools to better characterize and address flood control and flood risk in the watershed.
  • AWI supports coordinated and appropriate application of green infrastructure initiatives to reduce flooding and keep water on the land where appropriate.

Navigation / Water Transportation

  • AWI supports the project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 feet to support commerce consistent with coastal restoration.
  • AWI supports increased public and private investment to enhance and modernize navigation system operation and maintenance and improve reliability and efficiency.
  • AWI calls for funding initiatives, like the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), a unique, multi-purpose initiative that connects ecosystem restoration efforts and navigation improvements.
  • AWI calls for immediate action to counteract extreme vulnerability to infrastructure failure and reliability in the inland navigation system that is currently resulting in significant delays and stoppages in the Arkansas, Red Tennessee and Lower and Upper Mississippi Rivers.
  • AWI supports increased investment in open, transparent, interagency, decision support and asset management systems that would better inform future watershed decision-making and watershed budgeting approaches
  • AWI supports increasing dialog and coordination between the major basins to manage water flows to support navigation, while not compromising flood control, water supply, recreation, and ecosystem goals.
  • AWI requests increased funding made available from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund concluding with full annual allocations and that the Inland Waterways Trust Fund be distributed in accordance with the Inland Waterways Users Board.

Water Supply

  • AWI calls for increased and coordinated data collection and assessment of water supply and water quality. AWI has identified a critical lack of reliable data regarding the volume, condition, and use of the invaluable water resources of the Mississippi River Watershed. Population growth, and climate change will put further demands on a system that is poorly characterized, making effective management extremely difficult.
  • AWI supports creating incentives for agencies that assess water supply and water quality to drive inter-jurisdictional communication and collaboration, and discourage the continued practice of variable standards, and ineffective assessment regimes.
  • AWI supports long-term, and large-scale projects to: quantify the water resources and inputs to the watershed; quantify water use in the watershed, including flow, direct water transfers, and water transferred out of the watershed.
  • AWI supports management of watershed resources to provide abundant and clean water to Native American tribes and to communities in water-stressed regions throughout the watershed.

Recreation

  • AWI strongly supports efforts to preserve, protect, and restore habitats that support the multitude of recreational activities available throughout the watershed.
  • AWI calls for increased investment in water quality assessment, and cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies to both predict and communicate the risks to the public to improve public perception of water based recreational resources.
  • AWI supports efforts to increase recreational engagement through coordination of federal, state, and local organizations to maximize public awareness of, and access to, recreational sites throughout the watershed.