The 14th-annual Upper Mississippi River Conference – “Pooling Our Efforts to Raise the Grade” — will be held at the XPO Center at The Bend Oct. 5-7.

Stakeholders who represent interests that range from agriculture, manufacturing, energy and navigation to the environment and flood control will convene at the conference, to discuss improvement and use of the Upper Mississippi River. They will revisit the America’s Watershed Initiative 2016 Report Card and the efforts to raise the grade over the past five years.

Speakers and panelists will bring action plans, tool kits and provide personal testimony on what has worked to improve the ‘grade’ and resiliency of the Mississippi River watershed — which covers all or part of 31 states in the nation, according to a River Action release Tuesday. Presentations will follow two tracks, Sustaining/Improving the River and Utilizing the River.

The conference is hosted by River Action, a non-profit organization that works to protect and restore the upper Mississippi River in the QC area, foster cultural and economic river-related activities, and raise awareness of sustainable practices that enhance the river. River Action executive director Kathy Wine said a part of what her organization and this conference seek to do is help understand just how critical the upper Mississippi River region is to the economic, social, and environmental health of the entire nation.

Kim Lutz, executive director of America’s Watershed Initiative, will be conference keynote speaker.

The conference keynote speaker will be Kim Lutz, executive director of America’s Watershed Initiative, which works with a collaboration of businesses, government, academic and civic organizations to find solutions to the challenges facing the river and the 250 rivers that flow into it. Her address will be “Keys to the Report Card.”

For further information or to register, visit Early-Bird pricing ends October 1. Discounted fees are available for students.