WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 4, 2021 – Today, Ducks Unlimited and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI) signed a Memorandum of Common Purpose, signaling our shared goal to protect and restore wetlands and riparian habitats along the Mississippi River for the benefit of migrating waterfowl and Mississippi River communities.
One of America's largest expanses of wetlands, the Mississippi River Valley (MRV) is a vital migration corridor for 40% of North America's waterfowl and 60% of its bird species, but an estimated 75% of bottomland and riparian habitat has been lost. Since 2011, the MRV has sustained nearly $60 billion in natural disaster impacts including flooding, droughts and major storms.
Under the Memorandum, MRCTI and DU will work together to profile and promote disaster mitigation through habitat restoration. We have the shared goal of accelerating the pace of natural infrastructure project delivery, such as floodplain and backwater habitat restoration and enhancement, that increases waterfowl habitat, reduces exposure of cities and towns to flooding and provides economically important recreation opportunities along the corridor.
In addition, more than one third of the mayors involved with the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative are DU members. Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam was joined by Memphis Mayor and MRCTI Tennessee State Chair Jim Strickland to announce the Memorandum.
"The Mighty Mississippi has etched her place in our history, economy, folklore and the American character," said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. "Waterfowl, wildlife and people depend on this essential alluvial valley for our daily needs, and it only makes sense for DU to lock arms with MRCTI in common cause for conservation and restoration projects up and down the watershed. More than one third of the mayors involved with the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative are DU members, and we're excited to partner with MRCTI to promote projects that are sustainable and ecologically beneficial – projects that will protect jobs, secure our economy and enhance both our man-made and natural infrastructure across the Mississippi River Valley."
"The signing of this innovative agreement with Ducks Unlimited will provide both habitat and disaster protection for our cities along the Mississippi," said Mayor Jim Strickland of Memphis, TN and MRCTI Tennessee Chair.
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Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved almost 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI) is a coalition of 75 mayors from across the Mississippi River Basin, which spans nearly a third of the country. The Mississippi River provides drinking water to more than 20 million people and 50 cities. More than 60 billion gallons of fresh water is withdrawn from the river daily. The River's resources support 1.5 million jobs and create $496.7 billion in annual revenue.