New council aims to protect Mississippi River
By Tom Weber, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – A new panel will try to bring government agencies together with non-profits and citizens to find ways to protect the Mississippi River.
Illinois lawmakers created the Mississippi River Coordinating Council earlier this year. Lt. Governor Pat Quinn helped launch the panel at an event Thursday in East St. Louis.
Quinn says it will be just like a separate council that focuses on the Illinois River.
"With our Illinois River Coordinating Council, we've been very successful with getting federal funding," Quinn said Thursday, in an interview. "We have a conservation reserve enhancement program of $100 million. We had it declared a scenic byway that helps us get tourism dollars.
"So there's real money involved with this."
Quinn says increasing tourism and finding ways to protect habitat will be main goals, along with getting local towns to form flood emergency plans. He also says he'd like to see the panel help East St. Louis develop its riverfront.