In September, Senator Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point) joined legislators from six other Mississippi River states in Memphis to discuss recent flooding, opportunities to reduce nutrient loss, and building coalitions to improve river health and local economies. Legislators were also joined by mayors from towns and cities along the Mississippi River, who are members of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.
Recent flooding events mark the longest-lasting flood since 1927. The Missouri River Basin has taken on more runoff in three months than it typically gets in a year. Frequency is also increasing, with the last major 200-year flood event happening just eight years ago, in 2011.
Sessions at the event highlighted opportunities for increasing flood resilience. Solutions including wetlands, information on federal programs like the Farm Bill, strategies for improving soil health, and other options for river issues were presented. Presenters included people from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, National Young Farmers Coalition, and the Mississippi River Network.
“This conference provided a lot of ideas and solutions that I will be reviewing over the coming months,” said Senator Ruud. “I look forward to convening gatherings with local officials and stakeholders to discuss targeted solutions and new partnerships.”
The conference as well as the Mississippi River Cities and Towns initiative will both meet again next September in Lake Itasca, Minnesota.