Upper Mississippi River Basin

Basin Chair

William “Bill” Stahlman                                    Darrow Wenom
(Term expires 2018)                                           (Term expires 2018)
America’s Central Port, IL                                Global Tech Power, MO

Rich Diffley                                                               Jim Taylor
(Term expires 2018)                                               (Term expires 2018)
Lange-Stegmann Company, MO                        MarineNet, LLC, MO


 Upper Mississippi River Basin Meeting: February 16th, 2016 in East Alton, Illinois

M-35 Advisory Committee:

Resulting from the Port, Terminal and Operator Workshop held last year in Dubuque, the M-35 Advisory Committee has been formed. The first meeting will be held Monday, February 22nd in Rock Island.

The meeting objectives include facilitating coordination among the M-35 Route stakeholders and developing an action plan to achieve a suite of end-goals, with short, medium, and long-range targets.  The meeting includes time for brief introductions and for you to share hopes and expectations for the M-35 Route as well as what each umbrella group or organization may be able to bring to the table.  Ann Schneider will then facilitate full-group conversation in an effort to create an action plan that focuses on the four major themes from the 2015 UMRS Ports, Terminals, and Operators Workshop, including infrastructure, marketing and service development, planning and organization, and advocacy and awareness (see the attached meeting summary).  Ann previously served as Illinois DOT’s Secretary, and now owns a consulting firm, Ann Schneider and Associates.

Committee members – Individuals involved in the M-35 Route planning effort are provided on our web site at http://www.umrba.org/m-35-route-governance.htm.

Port, Terminal and Operator Workshop: February 24 and 25 (Dubuque, IA)

On February 24th and 25th, Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals co hosted a Port, Terminal and Operator Workshop with Upper Mississippi River Basin Association and Mid-America Freight Coalition.  We extend sincere appreciation to all of the speakers for providing valuable information and insights as well as to the attendees for contributing throughout the facilitated discussions.  The workshop involved very robust dialogue about the needs and opportunities for growing and strengthening the UMRS as a marine highway route.

The workshop included a handful of informational presentations regarding M-35, WRRDA 2014, and public-private partnerships (P3s) with a greater emphasis on facilitated discussions. The goals of the workshop were to:

  • Develop and strengthen regional collaboration among the Upper Mississippi ports, terminals, and operators, as well as governmental and private sector river stakeholders
  • Discuss opportunities for Upper Mississippi ports, terminals, and operators under new national and state initiatives, including the M-35 Marine Highway Designation, 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act, and state and national freight transportation plans
  • Identify priorities and actionable items for strengthening and expanding the Upper Mississippi’s ability to effectively and efficiently move commerce, including new or expanded services, advocacy needs

In anticipation of the workshop, researchers from the National Center for Freight and Infrastructure (CFIRE) conducted a survey to support the discussion. The survey was distributed to Upper Mississippi River stakeholders and included questions on commodities, infrastructure, market trends and much more. The survey results can be accessed HERE.

A summary of the February 24-25, 2015 UMRS Ports, Terminals, and Operators Workshop is available on UMRBA’s website at http://umrba.org/commercialnav/umrs-ports-terminals-operators-workshop2-2015.pdf.  To summarize, the major action items identified by workshop participants are as follows:

  • Advocate to Congress and the Administration regarding the importance of infrastructure improvements, broadening the coalition of supporters and rallying behind common interests  [This includes lock modernization (NESP), maintenance, and rehabilitation; harbor and channel dredging maintenance; as well as port and terminal infrastructure]
  • Refine and implement a targeted communications and marketing plan
  • Develop a market analysis to optimize service development and other investments
  • Support implementation of technologies to improve efficiencies and communications, such as an automated identification system (AIS)
  • Explore P3 investment models to supplement federal investment through thoughtful, comprehensive, deliberative dialogue among UMRS stakeholders

Ernie Perry led a facilitated discussion among all participants to generate ideas about action-oriented ideas that would result in an enhanced and strengthened inland navigation system. Participants categorized these ideas in four major topical areas: advocacy/awareness, marketing/service development, infrastructure, and planning/ organization. Please visit the above link on UMRBA’s website for more details.

Participants formed three breakout groups to consider various questions related to advocacy/awareness, markets/service development, infrastructure, and planning/organization. Handouts with questions were provided to guide discussions and brainstorming. The report-outs from those three groups are outlined in the summary.

Next Steps

The meeting summary will be used to develop a collaborative action-plan to advance the ideas discussed at this workshop. The plan will include specific goals and responsible leads. In addition, the five state DOTs will continue to work with the river navigation stakeholders to implement M-35 route planning and develop the corridor. This will include convening working groups that will explore new service development and implement other advocacy, marketing, infrastructure, and planning needs identified at the workshop. IRPT, MAFC, and UMRBA will continue to maintain and foster interactive dialogue with navigation stakeholders through their respective forums and communications venues.

Please feel free to contact Aimee Andres of IRPT (admin@irpt.net), Kirsten Mickelson of the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association UMRBA  (kmickelsen@umrba.org) or Ernie Perry of MAFC (ebperry@wisc.edu) for more information about the workshop discussions or next steps.

Inland Waterways Operators and Stakeholders Discussion on LNG and Marine Fuel: MARCH 5, 2015:  (St. Louis, MO)