Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne is in Washington D.C. today to make a presentation at the final meeting of The Big River Works initiative of the Americas Wetlands Foundation. The draft findings and recommendations of a master plan for the Mississippi River were presented to the attendees representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, other government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders interested in the vitality of the river.
“This was the culmination of the sixth and final meeting of the initiative, which was designed to raise awareness of the challenges facing the sustainability of the river,” Lt. Governor Dardenne said. “There was a consensus among the attendees that the Mississippi River is in need of a long-range plan for sustainability that will involve collaboration and corroboration among the many disparate groups who recognize and depend upon the river for the economy and ecology of our country.”
Lt. Governor Dardenne co-chairs the initiative along with Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois. He has presided over previous meetings in New Orleans and Minneapolis and previously chaired the AWF Building Resilient Communities initiative, which focused on the challenges facing Louisiana’s coastal communities.
The Big River Works forums focused on themes encompassing issues that are critical to the systematic health and sustainability of the Mississippi River. More than 400 public- and private-sector leaders attended the forums to identify opportunities for moving toward a more sustainable future for one of America’s most treasured assets. According to the draft findings, this will be accomplished by engaging a strong coalition of environmental, economic and cultural interests with a common stake in ensuring a healthy, working Mississippi River watershed. The initiative would not duplicate other important efforts dedicated to specific watershed issues, but instead provides a neutral stage for highlighting good work, best practices and innovation.