Project aims to improve climate resilience of Upper Mississippi River communities
The Institute on the Environment is partnering with the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA), communities in the region, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to better understand flooding and drought on the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Missouri and provide knowledge that will support communities in the region to enhance their climate resilience – their ability to anticipate and prepare for extreme weather events.
“This project demonstrates how NOAA puts equity into action by working with communities from start to finish to provide meaningful insight into climate risks,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D.
Melissa Kenney, IonE Director of Knowledge Initiatives, and Tracy Twine, IonE Fellow and Associate Professor in the Department of Soil, Water and Climate, are leading the project. They are using climate models and water resource models to predict flood and drought conditions. “Our goal is to provide useful data to communities across the Upper Mississippi River – especially those who are underserved and will be disproportionately impacted by too much or too little water,” said Kenney. “We want to empower them to better understand their future risks, to prepare for anticipated floods or droughts, and to take meaningful action at the right times.” The first year of the project will be focused on building new relationships with communities to understand their needs, questions, and goals in order to tailor the project and its outcomes to their specific circumstances.
“Often, communities know what they need to be resilient — what they need is our help getting there,” said Vankita Brown, NOAA senior advisor for equity. “NOAA is proud to strengthen these meaningful connections with communities along the Mississippi River, and develop climate products that benefit all users.”
“The project is an excellent example of expanding the partnership among local, state and federal agencies to reduce risk and enhance resilience in communities within the Upper Mississippi River Basin,” said UMRBA Executive Director Kirsten Wallace.
This is one of the first projects to come out of the recently formed Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology, and was developed based on discussions during a 2021 climate and equity roundtable focused on flooding and resilience in the Mississippi River Basin.
Communities and organizations who wish to be involved in the project should contact the project team by completing the following form: Interest in Upper Mississippi River Community Resilience Project.