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10,000 River Citizens Are Avant-Garde of New River Vision

The Mississippi River Network announced today that its 1Mississippi campaign has reached its initial goal of signing up 10,000 “River Citizens,” a group that includes someone from all 50 states.  River Citizens have pledged to take action in support of the health of the Mississippi River, most commonly by contacting elected officials and urging appropriate action on a variety of policy issues.

At the federal level, policy initiatives include work on a Farm Bill and on the Water Resources Development Act.  A variety of state level policy initiatives focus on water quantity as well as water quality matters.

To date, River Citizens have been important voices in a number of state and local efforts, including ground water legislation in Iowa last spring.  When the federal government resumes its normal course of work, there are a number of national issues affecting the Mississippi River that are lined up for action.

The Mississippi River Network is a group of 47 organizations located throughout the Mississippi River corridor and in Washington DC that are focused on one of several aspects of the Mississippi River’s health.  Along with other broad-based coalitions such as America’s Great Watershed, the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, and the Mississippi River Collaborative, the Network is attempting to generate a national groundswell of support for legislation to ensure that the health of the Mississippi River is not taken for granted any more.

And that’s really the point of the River Citizen program: not taking the Mississippi River for granted.  Even for many of us who work on river-related issues all the time, there is a tendency to forget how truly significant, on a global scale, our “home river” is.  Statistics only tell part of the story; people’s experience with the Great River builds the respect and love that inspires action.

10,000 River Citizens is a lot of folks, but it will take 10 times that many or more, for the Mississippi River’s health to truly become a national priority.  These ten thousand, then, should be understood as the “avant garde,” the early adopters and innovators who are paving the way for those who come later.  The cognate word “vanguard” is also pertinent: those hardiest and strongest participants in any movement who set the way and lead the rest.

Congratulations to the Mississippi River Network and to the 10,000 River Citizens!  In terms of the campaign to restore health to the river, this is the “end of the beginning.”

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  1. Public engagement | A Listly ListOctober 8, 2013 at 11:50 am

    […] 10,000 River Citizens Are Avant-Garde of New River Vision […]

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