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Mississippi River Basin Program

The Mississippi River Basin Program strengthens the policy foundation on which effective water resource protection and restoration occurs by engaging key stakeholders at multiple social, political and geographic scales in ongoing, informed dialogue regarding River Basin water resource issues. Launched in 1995, the Program has a vision for a revitalized, healthy river system that lies at the very center of a community and economic renaissance where all activities occur in such a fashion as to protect and restore the environmental richness and enhance the quality of life of all who live and work within the River Basin.

The Institute collaborates with Mississippi River Basin partners who are involved in a long-term process of effecting environmental policy change. The goals of these partners are far-reaching and reflect a profound change in basic societal conditions and in the existing behaviors associated with environmental conditions in the River Basin. The Institute’s outcomes represent interim accomplishments – inevitably incremental in nature – that create the conditions within which the desired long-term changes in society and the environment can occur.

Current Activities:

The Mississippi River Basin Program enhances, enriches and augments the work of its key Mississippi River Basin partners, including the Mississippi River Collaborative, Mississippi River Network, and relevant Congressional coalitions, caucuses and task forces.

Mississippi River Program Leads Congressional Briefing on Efforts to Control Asian Carp in the Mississippi River Basin:

A full room of people look at a man making a presentation.

The Northeast-Midwest Institute, in cooperation with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, co-hosted a Congressional briefing with the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA), focused on efforts to control Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi River and Ohio River basins on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 in the Dirksen Senate office building. The briefing was the first to specifically address monitoring efforts and methods of controlling carp in the Mississippi River basin. Attendees represented approximately thirty Congressional offices and a variety of national and regional stakeholders. Seven panelists from federal and state agencies discussed the current state of the threat presented by Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins and strategies for monitoring and managing the invasive species.

Jared Mott, Senior Policy Analyst at the Northeast-Midwest Institute, offered opening remarks and introduced the speakers. That group included:

Aaron Woldt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Asian Carp Coordinator
Greg Conover, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and MICRA Coordinator
Ron Brooks, Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources and MICRA chairman
Nick Frohnauer, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
Charlie Hanneken, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rip Shively, U.S. Geological Survey
Mike Weimer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Co-Chair of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC)

Mr. Aaron Woldt began the briefing by describing the need for management and control of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins. He educated attendees about a few different responses to Asian carp including The Management and Control Plan for Bighead, Black, Grass, and Silver Carps in the United States and the Asian Carp Action Plan in the Great Lakes. Mr. Woldt also discussed a new report to Congress authorized in the 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which provided direction and funding to control the presence of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins.

Mr. Greg Conover discussed the current state of Asian carp threat in the Mississippi River basin and efforts to harvest the fish. Mr. Ron Brooks and Mr. Nick Frohnauer elaborated on the current actions being taken to monitor and address the carp threat in the Ohio and Mississippi River basins by state fisheries agencies. Mr. Charlie Hanneken informed attendees about potential deterrents to carp movement using existing Army Corps infrastructure as well as coordination with other agencies. Mr. Rip Shively described some of the tools and technology available to fight the population of carp including carbon dioxide, underwater sound, and microparticles. Finally, Mr. Mike Weimer discussed some of the efforts to coordinate Asian carp prevention and control efforts between agencies and regions. Following the panelists’ presentations, attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions.

Presentation slides

Funders of Our Work:

The Program is primarily supported by a grant from the McKnight Foundation, and strives to advance the McKnight Foundation’s three Mississippi River program priorities, related to water quality, wetland protection and restoration, and cross-boundary and interagency coordination.

The Program is also supported in part with funding provided by the Mississippi River Network.