Congress authorized the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program in the 1986 Water Resources Development Act to help address ecological needs on the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS). Since the late 1980s and after Congressional re-authorization, the program became known as the Environmental Management Program (EMP), both locally and nationally. More recently, this program has been referred to as the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress. The two major elements of UMRR - the Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Projects (HREPs) and the Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) - together are designed to improve the environmental health of the UMRS and increase our understanding of its natural resources.
As the federal agency authorized to implement the UMRR, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is accountable for management and execution of the program. As a result, the UMRR has been shaped in many ways by Corps policies and procedures. Yet the UMRR is truly a partnership program. This fact can be traced not only to the UMRR's origins with the Upper Mississippi River Basin Commission, but also to the UMRR’s 1986 authorizing legislation, which directs the Corps to implement the UMRR “in consultation with” the Department of the Interior and the five basin states. The region has a rich tradition of interagency partnership that the UMRR has been fortunate to be able to build upon and nourish.