Gulf of Mexico
With four of the country’s top ten ports accounting for 450 million tons of annual cargo, extreme conditions on the lower Mississippi River cause disruptions that reverberate across the economy. The Port of New Orleans alone accounts for more than 119,500 jobs and $29.8 billion nationwide. (Photo credit).

LA - The Mississippi River is America’s trade artery. It’s time to make it more resilient to climate change.

After 2019’s unprecedented flood, the Mississippi River is rising again, causing anxiety for those living and working in its path. While impacted communities and fisheries received much attention, people have been less aware of the impacts to another critical industry: navigation.

Last year, in a first, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) opened the Bonnet Carré Spillway, a flood protection structure north of New Orleans that helps protect downriver communities, twice in the same year. It was also the first time the Corps opened the spillway in back-to-back years, providing a much-needed safety valve during one of the wettest periods in more than a century.

These extreme conditions are occurring more frequently and greatly impacting the navigation industry and the economy. Decision-makers at the state and federal level must prioritize solutions that can help the navigation industry become more resilient on the Mississippi River.

What’s at stake: $259 million per day

Increased river flow and height cause serious headaches for navigation – with significant safety and economic risks that should not be underestimated.

Read the full story here.