Advancing a Vision for the Mississippi

2014 Summit

Brigadier General Duke DeLuca (Ret.)

Commander, Mississippi Valley Division, USACE President, Mississippi River Commission

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Brigadier General Duke DeLuca assumed command of the Mississippi Valley Division, Vicksburg, Miss., September 24, 2013. He also serves as president-designee of the Mississippi River Commission. DeLuca came to MVD from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he was the commandant of the United States Army Engineer School, United States Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence. As MVD commander, DeLuca is responsible for a $2 billion civil works program. In addition, he plays a vital role in managing the Corps water resources program in the Mississippi River Valley. DeLuca was commissioned from the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 after earning bachelors of science degrees in economics and mechanical engineering. He also earned a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University in 1993. DeLuca has served from platoon level through combatant command in Army, Joint, multi-national and Interagency environments. He has commanded from company through division level, including command of a battalion and a brigade in combat. He has run multi-billion dollar annual construction programs in Iraq and in a region including the northeast United States, Europe and Africa supporting foreign militaries, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense family and several other federal agencies. DeLuca is an engineer and a Eurasian foreign area officer, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute and has served in fellowships at Columbia University, the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. A life of Army service has allowed DeLuca to work professionally in 29 states of the United States and 23 countries, including three years in formally declared combat zones. It has offered opportunities for both remarkable experiences and for the ability to work with the finest and most amazing American citizens and foreign partners. His awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and Ranger Tab. The Mississippi Valley Division is responsible for water resources engineering solutions in a 370,000-square-mile area, extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and encompassing portions of 12 states. Work is carried out by district offices located in St. Paul, Minn.; Rock Island, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and New Orleans, La. Since 1879, the seven-member Presidentially appointed Mississippi River Commission has developed and matured plans for the general improvement of the Mississippi River from the Head of Passes to the Headwaters. The Mississippi River Commission brings critical engineering representation to the drainage basin, which impacts 41% of the United States and includes 1.25 million square miles, over 250 tributaries, 31 states, and 2 Canadian provinces.



Bill Dennison

Professor, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

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Bill Dennison was born and raised in southern Ohio, spending lots of time in and on Ohio waterways. He went to Western Michigan University for his B.A. degree in Environmental Science, University of Alaska for his M.S. degree in Oceanography and the University of Chicago for his Ph.D. degree in Biology. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stony Brook University and a junior faculty at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Bill spent ten years at the University of Queensland, Australia and then returned to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science as the inaugural Vice President for Science Application. He created the Integration and Application Network and has recruited a team of talented Science Integrators and Science Communicators who work in a variety of globally significant projects.



Mayor Greg Fischer

Mayor, Louisville, KY

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Committed to growing jobs and creating a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, accessibility, and transparency, Greg Fischer was elected Louisville’s 50th mayor in 2010 and is now seeking a second term. Since taking office, Mayor Fischer has pursued three top goals: making Louisville a city of lifelong learning, a much healthier city and an even more compassionate community


Mayor Fischer’s accomplishments include:

  • Regaining the 42,000 jobs lost to the long recession, including creating 12,400 new jobs in 2013 alone.
  • Launching full-speed-ahead construction of the two Ohio River bridges while opening the pedestrian and bicycle friendly Big Four Bridge
  • Bringing innovation and efficiency to city government by using data to increase performance through LouieStat, championing the Louisville Water/MSD consolidation, and reaching a deal to bring $27 million in efficiencies to city facilities with no upfront costs.
  • Earning “International Model City of Compassion” recognition for Louisville in part by creating the Give A Day week of community service, which drew more than 144,000 volunteers and acts of compassion in April, 2014.

Mayor Fischer was named a 2013 “Public Official of the Year” by Governing Magazine, the only U.S. mayor to earn the distinction. Greg is an entrepreneur who started several businesses including SerVend International and Iceberg Ventures, a private investment firm. Greg graduated from Trinity High School and Vanderbilt University. He and his wife Alex have four children.



Terry Fleck

Chairman, Friends of Lake Sakakawea

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Terry Fleck has been fishing Sakakawea since the early 80s. He’s been involved with the Friends of Lake Sakakawea, first as vice-chairman and then as chairman since 2006. Terry spent 30 years in the radio business and is also a free-lance public speaker (The Attitude Dr.) As chairman of the Friends and the Burleigh Water Resource Board, Terry is knee-deep in water issues, but when he’s not working, he’s fishing on Lake Sakakawea.



Ben Grumbles

President, U.S. Water Alliance

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Ben Grumbles is President of the U.S. Water Alliance, an environmental nonprofit, 501(c)(3), based in Washington, D.C., that educates the public on the value of water and the need for “One Water” solutions as part of a national water strategy. Mr. Grumbles has served as Assistant Administrator for Water at U.S. EPA, Director of Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality, and Environmental Counsel and Senior Staff Member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Science Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s a member of the Virginia Water Control Board and the National Academy of Science’s Water Science and Technology Board. He has a Master’s Degree in environmental law from George Washington University, a J.D. from Emory University Law School, and a B.A. from Wake Forest University. Ben lives with his wife and kids in the Spout Run watershed of the Potomac River, Arlington, Virginia and grew up in the Beargrass Creek watershed of the Ohio River, Louisville, Kentucky.



Greg C. Heitzman, P.E.

Executive Director, Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District

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Greg Heitzman became Executive Director of the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) on May 1, 2013. Prior to MSD, he worked 31 years with the Louisville Water Company serving as Chief Engineer from 1991 to 2007 and President from 2007 to 2013. Louisville MSD provides wastewater, flood protection and drainage services to approximately 750,000 people in Metro Louisville.


He has bachelor and masters degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky and an MBA from the University of Louisville.

He currently serves on the following Boards:

  • Greater Louisville Fund for the Arts, 2013 Campaign Chair
  • Kentucky-Indiana Exchange (KIX) – The Regional Leadership Coalition
  • Louisville Better Business Bureau, Secretary
  • Louisville Chamber of Commerce – Greater Louisville, Inc.
  • Louisville Water Foundation
  • Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Water ISAC)
  • Water Research Foundation
  • WaterStep Advisory Board

He and his wife, Linda, reside in Louisville. Their daughter, Claire resides in Lexington, KY.



Dr. Heath Kelsey

Program Director, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

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Dr. Heath Kelsey is Program Director for the Integration and Application Network at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Cambridge, Maryland. His work fosters science application and communication through facilitated collaborations between scientists, managers, and stakeholders. Dr. Kelsey has developed integrated assessments and ecosystem health report cards in many areas, including Chesapeake Bay, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Coastal India, and numerous other systems. Dr. Kelsey earned his Master of Science on Public Health and PhD in Environmental Health Sciences at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health.



Ray LaHood

Senior Policy Advisor, DLA Piper
Former Secretary, US Department of Transportation

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Ray LaHood is the former US Department of Transportation Secretary. With a 36-year career in public service, Secretary LaHood has extensive experience on major national policy issues, among them transportation and infrastructure. He served as the 16th Department of Transportation Secretary from 2009 to 2013 and quickly became known as a bipartisan leader and skilled conciliator in a highly partisan environment.


Secretary LaHood’s tenure was marked by landmark efforts to improve safety in every mode of transportation, from aviation and rail to pipelines and automobiles. Under his leadership, improvements to America’s infrastructure included building or replacing 350,000 miles of highway, repairing 20,000 bridges and renewing or constructing 6,000 miles of rail track. Secretary LaHood also achieved more stringent fuel efficiency requirements from automakers, took steps to address airline pilot fatigue and turned the problem of distracted driving into a national concern. As Secretary of Transportation, he oversaw an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a US$70 billion budget in charge of air, maritime and surface transportation.

Before heading the US Department of Transportation, Secretary LaHood served from 1995 to 2009 in the US House of Representatives on behalf of the 18th District of Illinois and also served on various House committees, among them the powerful House Appropriations Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. He served as chief of staff to US House Minority Leader Robert Michel from 1982 to 1994. He was director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau from 1972 to 1974; chief planner of the Bi-States Metropolitan Planning Commission from 1974 to 1977; and district administrative assistant for US Congressman Tom Railsback from 1977 to 1982.

He is married to Kathy LaHood, and they have four children and eleven grandchildren.



Brigadier General John R. McMahon, P.E. (Ret.)

Korea Relocation Program Manager, CH2MHILL Former Commander, Northwestern Division, USACE

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John R. McMahon joined CH2MHILL International Services in December 2013 as the Program Manager for the Korea Relocation Program in Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea (ROK), a $10.7B program to expand Camp Humphreys and consolidate the US Forces Korea footprint on the peninsula. In this role, he works with the US and ROK government agencies to lead, manage and drive the program to completion through a consortium of one US and four ROK engineering firms, comprised of 360 US and ROK team members. John retired from active duty on 1 August 2012 after 35 years of service. His last command was the Northwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, assumed on November 20, 2009. In his last assignment, he oversaw an annual program of more than $4 billion in civil works, environmental restoration, and military construction in more than a dozen states, primarily within the Columbia-Snake and Missouri river basins. John orchestrated Corps of Engineers’ efforts with those of other federal, state and local agencies, the Army and Air Force, the Administration and the Congress. As Division Commander, he was responsible for providing guidance and direction to five operating district commands located in Portland, OR, Seattle and Walla Walla, WA, Kansas City, MO, and Omaha, NE, with a combined professional workforce of nearly 5,000. Key missions include support to military installations and civilian communities throughout the region, managing the nation’s water resources infrastructure for economic growth, environmental sustainability, and strengthening national security. John led the Corps’ response and recovery efforts to the unprecedented Missouri River Basin flooding of 2011. Prior to this assignment, John served in numerous stateside and overseas assignments such as Director of Engineering, U.S. Forces Afghanistan; Division Commander, U.S. Army Engineer Division; South Pacific, San Francisco, CA; Chief of Staff at Corps Headquarters in Washington D.C.; Commander and District Engineer, Japan Engineer District, Camp Zama, Japan; and Brigade Engineer, 3rd US Infantry Division (3ID), in the liberation of Kuwait. In each of these roles, John always led from the front, stayed focused on the mission and the people assigned to execute it, and used his influence to improve conditions with a long view. John is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. He was commissioned through the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Program at Syracuse University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering in 1977. He subsequently earned master’s degrees in Applied Mathematics at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, and in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University. John is married to the former Catherine Helen Kuttas of Satellite Beach, Florida, and they have four married children and two granddaughters. They now call Rockledge, Florida, their home.



Major General John Peabody

Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, USACE

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A northern Ohio native, Major General Peabody entered military service in 1980 upon commissioning as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers, spending most of his career as a combat engineer.

He has had multiple staff assignments at the tactical, operational and strategic levels as a Combat Engineer, Political-Military Advisor in US Southern Command covering Latin American issues, as the senior Engineer Trainer at the National Training Center, and for Army Legislative Liaison. He has commanded combat engineer units at the company, battalion and brigade levels, as well as three Corps of Engineers Divisions for over eight consecutive years – in sequence, the Pacific Ocean, Great Lakes and Ohio River and the Mississippi Valley Divisions. He also served five years on the Mississippi River Commission, culminating as the 36th President of the Commission. He has had operational deployments to Honduras, El Salvador, Somalia and Kuwait and Iraq, including command of the 3rd Infantry Division’s Engineer Brigade during the attack to Baghdad and subsequent transition to stability operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom I in 2003.

MG Peabody is a graduate of the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree, the Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College with a master’s degree in Strategic Studies. He also holds a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University and studied international relations and political sociology as an Olmsted Scholar at El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico City. He holds a Professional Engineer License from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

He and his wife Kelly spend their free time with their young daughter, Reagan.

As the Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, Major General Peabody is responsible for a $10 Billion dollar annual program. He exercises oversight of Corps’ civil works activities conducted by over 23,000 military and civilian professionals operating in 8 engineer divisions and 38 districts nationwide. The Corps Professionals conduct research and development, as well as plan, design, build, operate and maintain the nation’s water resource civil infrastructure valued at $125 Billion dollars, including more than 693 dams, 4,254 recreation areas, over 12,000 miles of commercial inland waterways, and approximately 14,000 miles of levees and 926 harbors. Major General Peabody is also responsible to coordinate all emergency response missions and preparatory activities for civil disasters in support of FEMA and state and local authorities. He serves the Chief of Engineers and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works as their principal military advisor for Civil and Emergency Operations.



Denise Reed, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist, Water Institute of the Gulf

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Denise Reed, Ph.D., is the Chief Scientist for the Water Institute of the Gulf. She is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in coastal marsh sustainability and the role of human activities in modifying coastal systems. She has worked on coastal issues in the US and in other parts of the world, for over 30 years. Dr. Reed has been extensively involved in restoration planning in coastal Louisiana since the early 1990’s with a focus on bringing scientific knowledge to bear in developing sustainable solutions. Reed has also been engaged in ecosystem restoration research and planning both in the California Bay-Delta and coastal Louisiana. She has served on numerous boards and panels concerning the effects of human alterations on coastal environments and the role of science in guiding ecosystem restoration, including a number of National Research Council Committees. She received her BA and PhD from the University of Cambridge in England.



Steven Stockton, P.E.

Director of Civil Works, USACE

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Steven L. Stockton serves as the Director of Civil Works, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C. In this position under the policy guidance of the Chief of Engineers and the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), leads, manage and directs the policy development, programming, planning, design, construction, emergency response, operation, and maintenance activities of the Army Civil Works Program, a $5 billion annual program of water and related land resources of the United States. He also serves as Chairman of the U.S. Section Permanent Engineering Board for the U.S.-Canada Columbia River Treaty, the Corps of Engineers Dam and Levee Safety Officer, is a Governor on the World Water Council Board of Governors, and serves in several national and international water resources Committees.


Mr. Stockton was selected to the Senior Executive Service in January 1996. From August 1998 thru May 2005, he served as the Director, Engineering and Technical Services; Director, Programs Management; and Director, Regional Business; for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Pacific Division in San Francisco, California. From May until November 2004, Mr. Stockton was the Director, Business Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, Gulf Region Division in Baghdad, Iraq. From his selection in January 1996 thru July 1998, Mr. Stockton was the Chief, Engineering Division, Civil Works Directorate, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.


  • 1988 – 1996: Chief, Planning and Engineering Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, Portland, OR
  • 1975 – 1988: Various positions including Branch Chief, Geotechnical Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, Portland, OR
  • 1972-1975 Naval Officer. Multiple Mediterranean and Caribbean deployments


  • BS, Civil Engineering, Oregon State University, 1971


  • Senior Executive Fellow, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1991


  • Registered Professional Civil Engineer, State of Oregon


  • Presidential Rank Award – Meritorious Executive, 2003
  • Oregon State University, Academy of Distinguished Engineers
  • Secretary of the Army’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award
  • Meritorious Civilian Service Award (2)
  • Superior Civilian Service Award (2)
  • Commanders Awards for Civilian Service (3)
  • North Pacific Division and the Portland District Engineer of the Year Award, 1982


  • Army Engineer Association
  • Society of American Military Engineers
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (Fellow)
  • National Academy of Construction
  • Governor, World Water Council


  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2012: Preparing USACE for the 21st Century, 2003
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resource Future: National Report
  • Water in the U.S. American West, 150 Years of Adaptive Strategies, Policy Report for the 6th World Water Forum
  • Developed and published the powerful Federal Support Toolbox for Integrated Water Resources Management, a one-stop shop (Portal and Clearinghouse) for national and international water resources information (, public release on February 28, 2013
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Building Strong Collaborative Relationships for a Sustainable Water Resource Future: Understanding Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), January 2014



Michael Toohey

President/CEO, Waterways Council, Inc.


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Michael Toohey serves as President/CEO of Waterways Council, Inc., a position he has held since August 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Toohey was a consultant for The Livingston Group from 2007 to 2011, providing legislative representation before Congress and the Executive Branch for clients from the chemical and transportation sectors. He also served as Vice President, Director of Government Relations, Associate Director of Government Relations, and Senior Washington Representative for Ashland Inc. from 1998 through 2007.



Nominated by President George Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Mr. Toohey was Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation from May 1992 through January 1993. He also served as Staff Director of the Republican Staff, Committee on Public Works and Transportation, from 1983 through 1989, and as Staff Director, Republican Staff, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries from 1981 through 1983. He was also a Professional Staff Member on the Committee on Public Works and Transportation from 1975 through 1981.

Commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Army, he served on active duty as a staff officer for the Chief of Engineers from 1971 through 1975. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry.

He serves on the Board of Directors for the American Highway Users Alliance. He served on the Board of Waterways Council, Inc. and as its Secretary/Treasurer from 2003 to 2005. He was also a member of the Board of the Danny Thompson Memorial Leukemia Foundation, a Supporting Member of The Marrow Foundation, The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Foundation, and Ducks Unlimited.

Conversant Biographies



Anne Murray Allen

Vice President of Organization Design and Integration, Conversant

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Anne’s career working in organizations has been both as an insider and as a consultant to large multinational organizations. She is a systems-thinker who has had bottom-line experience in a variety of organizational functions.


Anne has taught graduate level management classes and has presented at conferences around the world. She co-authored the 2005 Reflections Journal article, “The Nature of Social Collaboration: How Work Really Gets Done.” She published an article in the July 2012 edition of OD Practitioner on culture integration when merging organizations. She is a past recipient of an American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) Torch Award.

Anne served in several executive positions within Hewlett-Packard (HP) including Senior Director of Knowledge and Intranet Management; Director for Strategic Change which included an assignment leading the culture integration between HP and Compaq companies; leading the strategic planning process in both division and companywide positions; production management; and information technology management. Anne has an undergraduate degree in psychology and an MBA, and is currently working on her Doctorate in Social Science.



Jennifer Simpson

Chief Innovation Officer, Conversant

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Jennifer has dedicated her life and career to improving lives, strengthening communities, and adding value to organizations. Jennifer is responsible for developing innovative customer solutions and keeping our work on the cutting edge of business and science.


A dynamic leader, Jennifer has an impressive track record of engaging multiple stakeholders to produce results and accelerate business success. She specializes in translating organizational vision into practice, and mindfully managing change dynamics to build on and strengthen organizational capacity in times of transition.

Jennifer has developed and delivered high-ROI projects in business areas including: Finance, Human Resources, R & D, Service Operations, IT, Global Operations, and Executive Management in a wide range of Fortune 500 and Global Philanthropic organizations.

Jennifer’s lifework is to create a world where individuals thrive in healthy, rewarding, and successful organizations and communities. Jennifer is author or editor of two books and multiple journal articles and book chapters. Her varied background includes more than twenty years of experience working in and with organizations across the private, public, corporate, and not-for-profit sectors to create more meaningful and effective ways of living and working together; more than a decade of teaching university courses in communication and leadership disciplines; and a lifetime of bridging worlds in a way that capitalizes on the best in organizations to enhance creativity and stimulate whole system learning.

Jennifer holds a B.S. in communication and psychology from Syracuse University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she retains an adjunct faculty appointment.

2014 Summit Presentations:

Welcome and America’s Watershed Initiative

Reflections of a “Thinking Practitioner”: Crafting Collaborative Holistic Solutions (6MB, pdf)

DRAFT Report Card (6MB, pdf)

America’s Watershed: A Work in Progress (138KB, pdf)

America’s Watershed Initiative Report Card

Report Card Intro (1MB, pdf)

A Journey through the Mississippi River Watershed (7.4MB, pdf)

Fast-Forward 50… America’s Watershed Report Card in 2064

America’s Watershed Initiative – 50 Years After the 4 Revolutions With No Action? (4.4MB, pdf)

Deep Dive: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Deep Dive: Getting to the Heart of the Matter (3.9MB, pdf)

Deep Dive: Water Treatment (2.1MB, pdf)

Sustainable Agricultural Systems (3.2MB, pdf)

Achieving Balance in an Imperfect World (3.8MB, pdf)

The Impact of Low-Water on the Mississippi River and to the Nation (1.3MB, pdf)

Undaunted Courage (9.3MB, pdf)

Watershed Solutions Dialogue

DIFFERENT BY DESIGN: Today’s Conversations Shape Tomorrow’s Watershed (738KB, pdf)

Where to From Here?

DAY 2 – BREAKOUT SET-UP (1.3MB, pdf)

Private Sector Leadership in the Mississippi River Watershed

Approach to a Sustainable Water Future (2.7MB, pdf)