Raise the Grade

AWI believes that real progress can be made toward a sustainable Mississippi River system.

AWI believes that real progress can be made toward a sustainable Mississippi River system that provides opportunity and potential for all its residents, but only by acting together and with urgency.

A resilient and resourceful network of diverse interests collaborating on behalf of the Mississippi River is a kind of “social capital” that is every bit as important as the physical and natural capital the United States depends upon. Bringing forward science to improve decision making. Listening. Earning and building trust. Encouraging and championing innovation.

“The Mississippi River Watershed, which shapes thousands of communities and powers the nation, faces pressing challenges, with significant implications for the health and safety of all Americans, as well as our economy. As the United States looks to recover and rebuild our economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, the health and resilience of this critical natural resource – through investments in infrastructure, research, education and flood and water management – must be part of the solution.”

– Kimberly Lutz, Executive Director of America’s Watershed Initiative

Through collaboration and broad cross-sector partnership, the United States and all who share in the health and condition of America’s Watershed have a chance to define and chart a different course for the future. One that is better, healthier, stronger, and supportive of a high quality of life and economic productivity.

Leaders in business, conservation, navigation, agriculture, basin associations, and government must call for integrated management of the watershed’s resources, to safeguard our collective future and to help meet the challenges of a dynamic and changing Mississippi River Watershed.

“The challenges facing the waters and lands in America’s Watershed are large, growing and demand urgent action. Progress will require smart investments in scientific information to improve decision-making and coordinated on-the ground implementation. Only by working together and seeking collaborative solutions will we make meaningful and sustained progress to meet these many challenges and change this trajectory.”

– Dr. Larry Weber, Chair of AWI’s Report Card Committee

Cooperative management and development of America’s Watershed will provide a secure future for our nation and the world.

This is not easy. It requires patience, disciplined listening, and consideration of other peoples’ position on issues. Moreover, it requires up-to-date data across the watershed to inform real-time, science-based decisions. And finally, it requires experience within our tremendous river basins, as well as learning from other basins, to gain an understanding of how to focus actions to raise the grades.


INVEST: $2 billion in annual funding to address critical needs in inland navigation, regenerative agriculture, ecosystem function, and flood and water management. 

LEARN: Establish a science agenda, improve data information systems, and report progress against goals to inform decisions and ensure wise use of funds. 

EDUCATE: An informed citizenry – coupled with transparent and data-informed decision-making by basin leaders – will facilitate progress toward goals.

ACT: Greater collaboration among complementary and competing interests will improve our ability to manage in a way that values all uses of this tremendous resource.