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Worth Knowing: One Version of the Mississippi River Sustainability Story

March 18, 2014Patrick NunnallyProgram & AnnouncementsComments Off on Worth Knowing: One Version of the Mississippi River Sustainability Story

There are many Mississippi Rivers, of course, and many stories of what the river means, stories of how it is being managed (responsibly, according to everyone’s account of their own programs), and stories of the river’s future.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the dominant federal agency involved with the Mississippi River, so of course it is no surprise that the Corps publishes a regular newsletter highlighting the stories that it wants to tell.  The most recent version of the Our Mississippi newsletter spotlights the Upper Mississippi River restoration program.

It’s easy to be cynical about the Corp’s work in this regard.  A newsletter full of feel-good stories is a pretty inexpensive way to gain positive attention and distract people from the myriad projects being undertaken with questionable value for the river’s future.  Make no mistake, the Corps’ projects on the Mississippi deserve all the scrutiny we can give them, for lots and lots of reasons.

Still, on the face of it, this issue of Our Mississippi is worth a close read.  Many significant projects, partners, and agencies are highlighted, and if we are looking for places to start to put the Big River on a new course that actually is sustainable, that puts ecosystem values first, and that serves a broader range of the public, then this is a necessary place to start.

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A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.