Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the MWMO

Since its inception, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) has been committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment, internally and externally. From outreach, education, and grants to internal operations, planning, and project selection, our organization continues evolving to reflect and serve the diverse communities that comprise the watershed.

The 2021-31 Watershed Management Plan acknowledges that the history of systemic racism coupled with continued present-day infrastructure and land use patterns have brought unresolved social, economic, and environmental issues to the forefront. Our plan states that with this in mind, the MWMO will develop an organizational Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plan to promote the equitable delivery of projects and programs across the watershed.

Reflecting on our journey, we are proud of our progress in DEI. However, we are mindful that DEI improvement is not a destination but an ongoing journey. As we move forward, we recognize that DEI needs to permeate all our organizational processes, which will then improve the outcomes for our Member Cities and their diverse communities. The Equity Strategic Action Plan (ESAP) is our first step to installing the discipline we need to transform the MWMO’s culture further.

Read our Equity Strategic Action Plan (PDF)

Equity Statement

At the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, we believe everyone has the right to clean water and healthy ecosystems. We know that people who live in socially and economically disadvantaged areas often live with more pollution and environmental issues. These problems can worsen the Mississippi River’s health and its ecosystem. Therefore, our watershed’s health is inseparable from the well-being of the people who live in it.

The communities in our watershed have been deeply impacted by the legacy of systemic racism and its imprint on contemporary land use and infrastructure patterns. These issues perpetuate social and economic injustice at a time when the impacts of climate change are making them worse. Those in Black, Indigenous, and communities of color bear the brunt of elevated pollution levels, degraded watershed conditions, infrastructure instability, the urban heat island effect, and heightened vulnerability to flooding.

We at the MWMO are committed to fulfilling our mission in ways that promote equity and eliminate disparities to benefit all communities socially, economically, and environmentally. We recognize that good public policy draws strength from the diverse viewpoints and experiences that inspire innovative solutions to watershed management and restoration challenges. We will partner with local communities to create projects that improve the health of the watershed and their own living conditions and distribute resources fairly and equitably.