The Mississippi River runs from Minnesota to Louisiana — bringing opportunities for recreation and industry to the communities along its banks.
But as the climate changes, the river also brings a growing risk of costly and dangerous floods.
“Our organization was founded out of necessity 10 years ago to help cities deal with some devastating flooding and drought conditions that have been a persistent issue for our river valley,” says Errick D. Simmons, mayor of Greenville, Mississippi.
Simmons is co-chair of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. The bipartisan group of mayors is working together to reduce the impacts of extreme weather.
“One of the things we’re doing together is deploying over 66,000 acres of new natural infrastructure along the entire Mississippi River — involving eight states and over 30 cities,” Simmons says.
They’ve partnered with the nonprofit Ducks Unlimited to restore more than 60 wetlands near the river. When complete, the project areas will provide wildlife habitat and help hold excess water during storms.
“This nature-based infrastructure … will lessen the impact that our cities are seeing … and also lessen the burden that our folks incur on a yearly basis as a result of climate change,” Simmons says.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media