Mayors from more than a dozen cities and towns along the Mississippi River rallied Thursday in the nation’s capital for more federal attention for the waterway.
The mayors, members of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, will work with the newly-formed Mississippi River Caucus. That's a bi-partisan group of members of Congress. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is co-chair of the initiative.
"What we’ve learned and what we know as mayors is while there’s been piecemeal approach to addressing some of the issues, there’s never been a comprehensive long-term plan for the entire river and that’s what we’re advocating for," Slay said.
Slay says the mayors’ plan for the river includes issues such as floodplain management, water quality, environmental restoration, drought preparedness and community development.
Mayor Jo Anne Smiley of Clarksville, Missouri, told reporters at the Washington, D.C., press conference that the quality of the Mississippi’s water is a huge issue for her town.
"Many of our residents make their living from the river, their fore fathers made their living from and on the river, our community rests right on the river, so we are sensitive to every rise and fall that occurs," Smiley said.
The mayors say another of their priorities is restoration of the river’s system of locks-and-dams.
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