“It is not a commonplace river, but on the contrary is in all ways remarkable.”
Uniting Diverse Interests with a Common Purpose
Stretching across 31 states and two Canadian provinces, the Mississippi River runs through our nation’s cultural heritage and remains vital to American prosperity. But the Big River faces challenges that affect the entire nation’s future. Decades of degrading forces have stressed the river and its tributaries, threatening the enormous economic and environmental benefits the Mississippi provides across the country.
Since 2002, America’s WETLAND Foundation has served as a neutral facilitator for the varied and often conflicting interests involved in Gulf Coast restoration. Through THE BIG RIVER WORKS: Building Cooperation to Sustain the Mississippi River System, the Foundation brought together a strong coalition of environmental, economic and cultural interests for an analysis of the Mississippi River, which details the consequences of inaction and outlines opportunities for cooperation that will lead to a more sustainable system.
When this project was launched, numerous efforts were underway up and down the river to address the difficult challenges facing the Mississippi. THE BIG RIVER WORKS provided a forum for discussion to highlight the river’s national significance, along with all of the important efforts dedicated to its preservation. This initiative did not duplicate other important efforts dedicated to specific watershed issues but instead provided a neutral stage for highlighting good work, best practices and innovation. The goal was to move beyond dialogue by promoting good ideas and leveraging resources to reach an agenda for action.
The project gained cooperation to sustain the Mississippi River System with a common stake in ensuring a healthy, working Mississippi River Watershed.
Held in cooperation with a host of national, state and regional NGOs, THE BIG RIVER WORKS hosted six leadership forums in major cities along the river and in Washington, D.C. The meetings convened political leaders, scientists, engineers, dedicated practitioners and business and industry stakeholders to address comprehensive management of the river. Each event focused on a theme encompassing issues that are critical to the systemic health and sustainability of the Mississippi River.