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Upper Mississippi River Watershed - Planning Assistance to States

Published March 11, 2020

Upper Mississippi River Basin

Currently, there is no systemic flood risk management plan for the UMR as exists on the lower Mississippi River as a result of the Mississippi River Tributaries project. Lack of a systemic flood risk management plan for the UMR results in levee districts, communities and others, taking actions in an uncoordinated manner in response to flood concerns. This uncoordinated flood response ultimately transfers risk to other areas, often without their knowledge. 

The watershed assessment will collaboratively develop an FRM strategy for UMR basin with an interagency team (Federal & 5 states). This collaborative interagency team will work to lower the risk and consequences of flood and drought related damages through identification of potential structural and non-structural measures. This collaborative interagency team will also work to identify management techniques for erosion and sediment processes occurring in the watershed. 

The UMR Watershed Assessment will align goals and objectives of the interagency team and various stakeholder groups, building on those identified in the Mississippi River Report Card, in order to establish metrics which describe favorable and unfavorable economic, social and environmental outcomes.

The Great Flood of 1993 resulted in catastrophic damages throughout much of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) basin. The 1993 flood resulted in 47 deaths, over $15 billion in damages, 72,000 damaged homes and 74,000 people were evacuated. Today, citizens remain concerned about flooding, given recent floods in 2001, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 & 2015. Citizens continue to call for Federal action to develop a systemic flood risk management plan based on a watershed approach. The watershed assessment study area comprises the 185,000 sq. mile UMR basin above the confluence of the Ohio River, excluding the Missouri River Basin (map).

This project is a potential FY20 new start project. 
In FY18 the team advanced work on development of the strategic communication plan through an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) pilot effort through the Institute of Water Resources. In addition, the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA), the potential project Sponsor who serves as the representative for the 5 mid-western states covering the UMR basin, signed an agreement to serve as Sponsor for a Planning Assistance to States effort to advance the scoping portion of the Watershed Study.  In 2019, this scoping portion of the watershed study was advanced through a series of public listening sessions to capture the concerns of the landowners and stakeholders within the basin.

Additional Information

Congressional Interest

Senators: Charles Grassley (IA), Joni Ernst (IA), Richard Durbin (IL), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Tina Smith (MN), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Roy Blunt (MO), Joshua Hawley (MO), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Ron Johnson (WI)

Representatives: IA-1 (Abby Finkenauer), IA-2 (Dave Loebsack), IA-3 (Cynthia Axne), IA-4 (Steve King), IL-1 (Bobby Rush), IL-2 (Robin Kelly), IL-3 (Dan Lipinski), IL-4 (Jesus Garcia), IL-7 (Danny Davis), IL-11 (Bill Foster), IL-13 (Rodney Davis), IL-14 (Lauren Underwood), IL-15 (John Shimkus), IL-16 (Adam Kinzinger), IL-17 (Cheri Bustos), IL-18 (Darin LaHood), MN-1 (Jim Hagedorn), MN-7 (Collin Peterson), MO-6 (Sam Graves), WI-1 (Bryan Steil), WI-2 (Mark Pocan), WI-3 (Ron Kind), WI-5 (F. James Sensenbrenner Jr.), WI-6 (Glenn Grothman) 

Section 729 of WRDA 1986 
or Section 1206 of WRDA 2016

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost $2,250,000
Estimated Non-federal Cost $750,000
Estimated Total Project Cost $3,000,000
Allocations Prior to FY 2020 $0
FY 2020  Allocations $0
FY 2020 Total Capability $1,000,000


Major Work Item Current Year
FY 2020: Awaiting new start and funding. If funded progress will be made in establishing interagency team and information will begin to be collected and evaluated to inform the current state of the watershed.