Commerce on the Mississippi River at Risk: Economies of 31 States Threatened.
The cargo conveyed on the Mississippi River has an approximately $115 billion annual impact on the nation’s economy. The Mississippi River Basin connects 31 states and 2 Canadian Provinces through the third largest river basin in the world. A true maritime superhigway that drains over 1.29 million square miles or over 40% of the continental U.S.
The Big River Coalition was created in Fiscal Year 2011 in reaction to the announcement by the Commander of the Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division regarding the discontinuation of reprogramming funds to maintain the Lower Mississippi River navigation channel. This position change immediately meant the Mississippi River’s navigation channel would no longer receive preferential treatment.
Shortly after the 1989 grounding of the M/V Marshal Konyev near Pilottown which, in essence, closed the River to all ship traffic, the Corps’ Headquarters announced in a position statement that it would maintain the nation’s most critical navigation channel. The Big River Coalition’s main focus has been to obtain additional funding to supplement the shortfall in the Corps’ annual budget, to strive to establish a legislative firewall around the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and to represent members of the Mississippi River navigation industry in matters related to coastal restoration.