Rivers & Coasts
The Rivers and Coasts Department was created under the DRA to manage the demands of a just, equitable, rapid, and rigorous scaling of protective wetlands, wetland carbon sinks, and pollution-mitigation as called for in the Green New Deal.
The DRA is tasked with managing the extensive water resources under its purview, ensuring a cleaner, healthier, and more resilient Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico in partnership with the Midwest. A significant mandate has been the requirement for creation of numerous natural aquatic carbon sinks by 2030. The Rivers and Coasts Department was created under the DRA to manage the demands of a just, equitable, rapid, and rigorous scaling of protective wetlands, wetland carbon sinks, and pollution-mitigation as called for in the Green New Deal. With assistance from the Abolition and Industrial Transition department, the DRA has pioneered a program to create up to 300,000 acres of wetlands by Freeing the Mississippi -- loosening the choke hold of levees and flood infrastructure while still protecting residents. Thanks to the Free the Mississippi program, urban and rural populations will experience health and economic benefits including quality jobs, better hunting and fishing outcomes, cleaner drinking water, and the satisfaction of showing that the Delta can punch above its weight when it comes to decarbonizing the nation.
The goal of Free the Mississippi is to give more room for the Mississippi to create wetlands that will act as kidneys, cleaning the water for the benefit of all. All land agreements will be negotiated with owners and specific care is being taken to keep from uprooting communities which have already suffered degradation in the region. Examples of government backing may include market rate purchases of land, deconstruction and reconstruction of levees at a greater distance from the river edge, wetland restoration and wetland creation expertise and assistance, and maintenance funding, as well as the boost to agriculture yields created by the ecosystem services. The program will look to enhance community partnerships to fulfill federal Supplier Diversity goals, access to a diverse roster of experts in agriculture and wetland-adjacent industry, and more. Once all levees marked for setback have been reconstructed at greater distance and all wetlands have been monitored for 20 years to ensure appropriate stability and health, the program will conclude.
Free the Mississippi's exemplary projects include the Coahoma County Wetland Education Center & Levee Work Camp Memorial and the Louisiana Sugar Cane Farmers' Union Project for Wetland Conversion. The program has enabled local communities to actively participate and holistically benefit from the improvement of the Delta region and the nation through freeing the River from its restricting levees and allowing the river to create the wetlands needed to reach our nation's decarbonization goals.