Wednesday, July 24, 2019

New Fund Would Help Mitigate Disasters Along Mississippi River

Posted By on Wed, Jul 24, 2019 at 1:32 PM

Mayor Rick Eberlin of Grafton, Illinois pilots a boat full of media during a press tour of flooded areas of his city. - MISSISSIPPI RIVER CITIES & TOWNS INITIATIVE
  • Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative
  • Mayor Rick Eberlin of Grafton, Illinois pilots a boat full of media during a press tour of flooded areas of his city.

This year has been the longest and largest flood season for the entire 31-state Mississippi River Basin, and leaders there want new tools to help them mitigate flood disasters and more.

Mayors in the Mississippi River Valley estimate disaster-related losses in their cities are above $2 billion. The flooding, for example, has damaged homes, temporarily displaced families, and delayed farmers’ planting at record levels, according to the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative (MRCTI).

Check out MRCTI's full report on flooding here:

Cities along the river also need to be prepared for wildfires, earthquakes, storm surge, chemical spills, and more, the group said Wednesday.

click to enlarge Satellite image shows the Mississippi River swelling below Memphis. - MISSISSIPPI RIVER CITIES & TOWNS INITIATIVE
  • Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative
  • Satellite image shows the Mississippi River swelling below Memphis.

The group says it needs access to funds to allow their cities to clean up disasters and help prevent them in the future. A new bill introduced Wednesday could give it to them. The Resilience Revolving Loan Fund (RRF) Act was filed by U.S. Reps. Angie Craig (D-Minnesota) and Rodney Davis (R-Illinois).

“From the drought of 2012 to the excessive heatwave that gripped our area last week, Iowa has seen several multi-century events stack up and worsen over the past few years,” said Mayor Frank Klipsch of Davenport, Iowa. “We need solutions to these impacts that are different than the same old conventional approach — we need real innovation. The RRF provides a new tool to help us prepare.”
Clarksville, Missouri uses temporary flood structures to save their downtown as the Mississippi River moves up Main Street. - MISSISSIPPI RIVER CITIES & TOWNS INITIATIVE
  • Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative
  • Clarksville, Missouri uses temporary flood structures to save their downtown as the Mississippi River moves up Main Street.
Red Wing, Minnesota Mayor Sean Dowse called the fund “good fiscal policy.” He said taxpayers get a $6 return for every $1 invested in disaster-resilience programs and mitigation efforts.



Greenville, Mississippi Mayor Errick Simmons said the “Delta has been flood-fighting nonstop for nearly nine months.”

“If we are going to preserve and enhance our economy, we will need to achieve real resilience,” Simmons said. “Some of the most vulnerable communities to climate risk are in the South. Alleviating vulnerability means no longer approaching solutions just inside our backyard, but at regional and corridor scale.”

click to enlarge Satellite image shows the Mississippi River swelling near St. Louis. - MISSISSIPPI RIVER CITIES & TOWNS INITIATIVE
  • Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative
  • Satellite image shows the Mississippi River swelling near St. Louis.

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