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U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Secures wins for Wisconsin in bipartisan water infrastructure bill

May 24, 2024   WISPOLITICS

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works advanced the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to the full Senate, including several priorities U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin worked to include for Wisconsin water infrastructure projects to support our manufacturing, agricultural, and tourism economy.

“In Wisconsin, water defines our way of life, and I’m committed to protecting these resources for the next generation. Whether transporting Made in Wisconsin goods to market, attracting tourists to our lakes and rivers for recreation, or reducing flooding along our shores, this legislation invests in protecting our waters,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to have secured investments for Wisconsin communities across the state that will double down on protecting our freshwater resources, while keeping commerce moving on our waterways.”


Accelerating Lock and Dam Upgrades on the Mississippi – Navigable waterways like the Mississippi River transport one-third of the nation’s GDP but rely on a network of lock and dam infrastructure that was constructed in the early 20th century. The Baldwin-backed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law waived the typical cost share with local and state governments to accelerate the pace of upgrading antiquated infrastructure and maintain these critical waterways for Made in Wisconsin goods. In the WRDA legislation, Senator Baldwin worked with her colleagues to authorize full federal funding for the remaining costs for all inland waterways construction and major rehabilitation projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Protecting the Great Lakes from Invasive Species – The Brandon Road Lock and Dam project is a new engineered channel in Joliet, Illinois that will be used to test and deploy a range of technologies to prevent Asian Carp from moving further north to the Great Lakes. Recognizing the regionwide and national benefit of the program, Senator Baldwin fought to further invest in the program.

Southeastern Wisconsin

Reducing Sewage Overflows in Milwaukee County – After successfully including $4.5 million in the 2022 WRDA legislation, Senator Baldwin secured an additional $6 million for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop an approach to reduce combined sewer overflows, improve water resources, and address climate change. This includes removing concrete liners in waterways and installing green infrastructure, like planting trees, to improve water quality and reduce runoff.

Western Wisconsin

Managing Flooding in La Crosse – The WRDA legislation included a Baldwin-back provision to authorize a study for the U.S. Army Corps to evaluate flood control levees in La Crosse to manage flooding on the Mississippi, La Crosse, and Black Rivers. The Army Corps deemed the levee system unacceptable in 2011 and now, funding will go toward a study on flood risk and other water resource management in La Crosse and the surrounding area to inform the city and Corps on potential pathways to reinforce the levees for them to be deemed acceptable.

Strengthening the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) program – Senator Baldwin successfully included $25 million, a $10 million increase, for UMRR Monitoring to track and record the long-term health of the river, monitor the health of both native and invasive species, and better serve UMRR’s mission of ecosystem restoration, monitoring, and science on a large river system. Operated by Wisconsin DNR, much of this critical work is done at a field station in La Crosse.

Upper Mississippi River System Flood Resiliency Study – The WRDA legislation authorizes a study to develop long term, integrated approaches to improving flooding in the Upper Mississippi River System, covering all or portions of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.

Investing in Restoring the Kinnickinnic River Ecosystem – The Kinnickinnic River is a high-quality trout stream, but the ecosystem is severely degraded due to impoundments. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting a feasibility study on the removal of two dams to restore the river to its natural setting, with the support of the City of River Falls. Senator Baldwin successfully included language to update the Army Corps’ authorities to help advance the project.

Northern Wisconsin

Menominee River Deepening Project – Senator Baldwin included a provision to help expedite an ongoing U.S. Corps feasibility study of infrastructure improvements to Menominee harbor in Marinette. The study is exploring the economic and environmental feasibility of deepening the harbor to improve access to commercial facilities that sustain a large number of jobs in the region.

An online version of this release is available here.