• The Mississippi: A Visual Biography by Quinta Scott

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Ecosystems as Infrastructure–The Stimulus Bill

I am so glad to find I am wrong. There is money in the stimulus bill for the Upper Mississippi Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program, $8,604,000 to be exact.

The stimulus bill will fund first phases of construction of new 1,200-foot locks on the first five dams north of St. Louis. It will implement small-scale navigation aids, such as temporary mooring facilities for barges waiting to go through the old locks. It will also fund ecosystem restoration projects along the Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway.

In addition, the bill will fund $17.7 million for restoration projects on the Upper Mississippi under the Habitat Restoration Program that Congress authorized in 1986. 

The Chartres Island Side Channel

The Chartres Island Side Channel, Fort de Chartres, Randolph County, Illinois

And it will fund $718,000 for Missouri River and Middle Mississippi River ecosystem enhancement. On the Mississippi, this money will probably be used to restore side channels that run between the river bank and islands in the river.

Closing Dam across Chartre Island Side Channel. Should the Corps of Engineers notch the dam and lower its elevation, water and fish could flow through the side channel when the river is up. There is also the possibility of removing the dam altogether.
Closing Dam across Chartre Island Side Channel. Should the Corps of Engineers notch the dam and lower its elevation, water and fish could flow through the side channel when the river is up. There is also the possibility of removing the dam altogether.

In today’s news there is an interesting article about conservation groups looking for a niche in climate funding, that looks at ecosystem restoration as infrastructure and the need to restore flood-buffering wetlands along rivers, possibly from a yet-to-be-authorized cap and trade program on carbon emissions.

The American Land Conservancy does ecosystem restoration on lands on the riverside of the levees along the Middle Mississippi. At Kaskaskia Island it has purchased 3,200 acres, on which it has planted 178,672 seedlings.

The American Land Conservancy does ecosystem restoration on lands on the riverside of the levees along the Middle Mississippi. At Kaskaskia Island, Randolph County, Illinois, it has purchased 3,200 acres, on which it has planted 178,672 seedlings.

There is an article about a land deal in Itasca County, Minnesota that would set aside 187,000 acres of forested land and wetlands as a privately managed working forest. The proposal would preserve wilderness, protect jobs in the timber industry,  and protect the headwaters of the Mississippi.

Mississippi Headwaters near Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Mississippi Headwaters near Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Finally, because forests absorb nutrients, it would retain nutrients in Minnesota that otherwise might end up in the Gulf of Mexico should the land be cleared and turned over to agriculture.

 

 

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