Current River bluff in the fall.
Current River Current River bluff in the fall. © Richard Spener

Places We Protect

The Current River

Missouri

The Current River is the most biologically significant river in the Midwest.

Overview

The Current River is home to an impressive array of plants and animals, including more than 35 globally significant species.  Some of these species are found nowhere else on earth; others have their healthiest populations in this region.  It is also a major breeding habitat for migrating and nesting birds.

The spring-fed waters start near Montauk in the Ozark Mountains, and flow nearly 184 miles as they twine through dense oak-hickory forests, scenic bluffs, and prominent rock ledges before emptying into the Black River in Arkansas. Nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, more than 1.5 million fly-fishers, paddlers, bird watchers, hikers, swimmers, spelunkers, and other nature lovers visit the Current River each year for its stunning scenery and many recreational opportunities which can be accessed at numerous points along its banks.

What TNC is doing

Unsustainable agricultural and forestry practices pose significant threats to the Current River.  The Conservancy works directly with private landowners to promote sustainable land use, primarily through conservation easements.  Additionally, the Conservancy collaborates with local farmers to develop affordable and sustainable methods to keep livestock out of the river.  Preventing streambank erosion is another top priority; the Conservancy has worked with partners such as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to restore hardwood forests and canebreaks.