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The 2023 Upper Mississippi River Conference

The 2023 Upper Mississippi River Conference is all about Building Community Around the River and is on October 18th and 19th this year. The conference will be located at the Rock Island Holiday Inn in Rock Island, Illinois. Our Keynote is Colin Wellenkamp from the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative to talk about the Ducks Unlimited project that is on the Rock River; our goal is to get a representative from Ducks Unlimited to accompany him. The project is centered around working together to profile and promote disaster mitigation through habitat restoration for waterfowl. Our Wednesday dinner speaker is Chris Jones, a retired research engineer with the University of Iowa who will talk about water quality and health of the Mississippi River. He recently wrote a book called the Swine Republic: Struggles with the Truth about Agriculture and Water Quality, I have asked him to bring the book with him to sell and provide a signing. Our 3rd plenary speaker is Robert Sinkler and Todd Main to talk about the new CornBelt Port in Rock Island, and our closing plenary is with J.F. Brennan. Our goal is to secure a representative from the City of La Crosse to talk about the services J.F. Brennan provides and how both the city and Brennan successfully contribute to achieve balance between environmental, economic, and social frame works within major river corridors and their communities.

The other components of the agenda are the three breakout sessions, 1, from an ecological standpoint with water quality and habitat restoration highlighted as the tracks, 2, from a sociological standpoint with environmental justice and community initiatives highlighted as the tracks, and 3, from an economic standpoint with tourism and navigation and waterfront development highlighted as the tracks. We have three field trips scheduled this year: a lecture on the water from Dr. Rueben Heine, a professor for Augustana College, aboard the Augustana Stewardship; a Muscatine riverfront development bus/walking tour; and a Rock Island Riverfront tour with Mark Schwiebert and Kyle Carter.

You can sign up and find all the information at riveraction.org/umrc where we will be updating the agenda with speaker information as it is finalized, along with any other components of the conference. Registration this year is $120 until September 15th, when it will go up to $220. We do recommend signing up soon so you can take advantage of the early bird pricing. We hope you can join us to learn all about Building Community Around the River.