Mayor Kabat said that clean water is essential for the top three economies in the region:
The Mississippi River is La Crosses’ greatest quality of life asset, and is a climate impact zone with both acute and chronic impacts from heavier rainfalls, stronger storms and warmer overnight temperatures. Because the river is so important to the river cities, and it’s at risk from the impacts of climate change, this group sent representatives, including Mayor Kabat, to the Paris Climate talks last winter.
Some other highlights of the video:
8:15 MRCTI members have worked with the Mississippi River bi-cameral caucus – now 37 members of Congress. MRCTI has developed a memo of common purpose with COE, and pushed to relink conservation compliance with crop insurance subsidies. Asking current administration for $100 m for pre-disaster mitigation grants, secured an agreement to allow container shipping on the Miss River.
9:20 Mississippi River sustainability fund – aim to make infrastructure more resilient and adaptive. Will provide seed money to install more green infrastructure. They are also seeking funding for source water protection and transit.
10:30 To help the cause of resilience, advocacy is needed for Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water SRF State Revolving Loan Funds, Section 106 Water Pollution Control grants and EQIP Environmental Quality Incentives Program (USDA). Mayors go to Washington every March to advocate for these. Cities are laboratories for showing what can be done, what works and doesn’t work. Cities on the river are on the front line, make the greatest impact and feel the greatest effects.
13:00 La Crosse has three universities and many non-profits. One major asset to the city is the USGS Upper Midwest Service Center in Onalaska. This group has taken on many projects to restore the natural ecology of the river. Lots of restoration projects have been completed in the lower parts of Pool 8, in concert with groups like Nature Conservancy to see what can also be applied in the Lower Mississippi.
13:35 Upper Miss River Restoration Program, authorized by Congress in 1986. Habitat restoration and long-term monitoring. Mayors group has signed a memo of common purpose supporting nutrient monitoring up and down the Mississippi.
15:45 In March, MRCTI also urged Congress to allocate funding to restore the Land and Water Conservation fund, and to fund the nutrient monitoring program and requested $4.1 billion for the navigation and ecosystem sustainability program. They are not asking for new funding, it will be challenge to maintain current funding. Their idea is to repatriate overseas funds that American companies have overseas in undistributed earnings ($2 trillion); goal is to require ½ of that to be repatriated and 15% of that would be used to buy infrastructure issued to state and local governments.
18:00 MRCTI is also trying to reinvigorate the transportation and water infrastructure innovation acts. And they are also working on global resiliency – sent mayors to the UN meeting in Paris in December 2016, and are working with the eight other major rivers that are focused on providing drinking water and agricultural output: Amazon, Rhine, Danube, Prana, Euphrates, Volga, Ganges, Tigress, Euphrates, Yellow.