The Nature Conservancy
Who's Making the Grade? The Nature Conservancy Offers a Report Card on the Mississippi River WatershedFor the first time ever, detailed information about the 31-state Mississippi River Watershed, or America’s Watershed, has been compiled, analyzed and graded in a "Report Card” released October 14, 2015. The Report Card measures six broad goals — water supply; transportation; flood control and risk reduction; the economy; recreation; and ecosystem health — all important to healthy rivers and healthy communities.
America’s Watershed provides drinking water for millions of people, recreation, wildlife habitat, natural infrastructure to cleanse water and help reduce the risk of flooding for communities, and it serves as an economic engine for America. But pollution, aging man-made infrastructure, more extreme weather events, etc. threaten all of this.
Since 2010, The McKnight Foundation has supported The Nature Conservancy ’s efforts to achieve cross-boundary and interagency coordination in the Mississippi River Basin to improve water quality and resilience. In 2011, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers formed America’s Watershed Initiative (AWI) and brought together more than 400 business, government and science organizations to seek solutions for the challenges facing the Mississippi River and the 250-plus rivers that flow into it, an unprecedented collaboration in size and scope. AWI encourages a transparent, integrated, and collaborative approach to managing America’s Watershed.
Beginning in 2012, AWI engaged with 700 stakeholders and experts from across this vast watershed to develop and produce the Report Card, which also provides assessments for five major sub-basins—the Upper Mississippi, Lower Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Red and Missouri Rivers.
With an overall average of D+ for the six main goals, the Report Card reveals many opportunities to raise the grade for America’s Watershed. It can track progress in achieving objectives and provide a roadmap for collaborative actions. Over the next year, the Report Card results will be communicated throughout the watershed and used to continue building a shared voice to improve the future of the Mississippi River Watershed.