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'Raising the Grade' of the Upper Mississippi River

Last year, the Upper Mississippi River received a "C" on a report card grading the five major river basins. Thursday and Friday, 200 people from 20 different states will be in the Quad Cities, working to raise that grade.

Executive Director of River Action, Kathy Wine, says this is the 9th annual Upper Mississippi River Conference. But, its the first time the Upper Mississippi has been graded, on factors like the economy, flood risk reduction, and transportation. 

Environmentalists and people from different private sectors will work on bringing those factors together. 
Wine says after the conference, River Action will release a report on how to improve the Upper Mississippi. 

She says one way to make change is finding funding or working for policy changes.

Last fall, America's Watershed Initiative gave the Upper Mississippi the highest grade out of the five major river basins. The next report card will be released in 2020, and Wine says that'll give plenty of time to work on raising the grade to an "A." 

Overall, the Mississippi River received a "D+." 

The author of the report card, Heath Kelsey, from the University of Maryland, will be the first speaker at the Upper Mississippi River Conference on Thursday. It begins at 7 am, at the I-Wireless Center in Moline, and runs through Friday. 

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