American Rivers statement on the nomination of Mike Connor as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works

April 29, 2021

April 29, 2021

Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145

President Biden announced that he will nominate Mike Connor as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works. Connor, a member of the Taos Pueblo tribe, served as deputy Interior secretary in the Obama administration.

The Army Corps of Engineers has a significant impact on river health nationwide, issuing federal Clean Water Act permits and managing 740 dams and more than 14,000 miles of levees. The Corps leads critical flood management efforts and in recent years has been instructed by Congress to incorporate nature-based solutions including floodplain and ecosystem restoration.

Among the more contentious projects the Corps is currently engaged in are the Pebble Mine in Alaska, the Yazoo Pumps in Mississippi, and its management of four federal dams on the lower Snake River in eastern Washington that are impacting endangered salmon runs.

Tom Kiernan, President of American Rivers, made the following statement:

“We applaud the nomination of Mike Connor as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works. Mike is a proven leader with a strong conservation mindset. He has extensive experience in water management and river restoration. As a member of the Taos Pueblo, he understands the critical importance of the federal government fulfilling its trust responsibilities to Native American tribes.

Climate change is impacting communities across the country with bigger and more frequent floods and droughts. The Army Corps has a critical role to play in strengthening communities in the face of these challenges. Protecting and restoring healthy, free-flowing rivers and investing in natural infrastructure must be the cornerstone of our strategy to build climate resilience because it has proven so effective. We encourage the Army Corps to fully integrate nature-based approaches that protect communities and improve river health into the Civil Works program, and to address long-standing inequities in water resources investments.

We look forward to working with the Army Corps and the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that equitable investment in clean water and river restoration is a top priority.”