Stretching from the Allegheny Mountains across to the Rockies and south to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River Basin spans 1,245 million square miles in 31 states and two Canadian provinces—forming the world’s fourth largest river basin.
For centuries, we’ve used the Mississippi to quench our thirst, nourish our crops, energize our home, and transport our goods. The flowing water sustains robust fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, which provide food, jobs, and economic security to millions of people. But all of this is at risk.
One of the most critical challenges in the Mississippi Basin today is nutrient pollution. Each year massive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous from sewage treatment plants, farms and other sources runoff into the river, posing health hazards to people and wildlife, raising water treatment costs, and contributing to the annual Gulf of Mexico dead zone.
Our Goal: A 20 percent reduction of nutrients entering the Mississippi River Basin by 2025
The Nature Conservancy is working with farmers, agribusiness, policy makers and others to target science-based solutions in places contributing the highest levels of nutrients.
Read more about our America’s Great River effort.
Healthy soils can deliver tangible economic and environmental benefits for U.S. farmers, businesses and communities for generations to come.
The good news is that while it may take hundreds of years to geologically build soil, farmers have demonstrated that they can increase organic matter and improve soil function in just a few years, through soil health management systems.
July 1, 2016
Figuring out how to produce clean water is a critically important challenge, and the Conservation Reserve Program is key to solving it.
March 14, 2016
Carrie Vollmer-Sanders can work alongside her family, making a difference in the world by improving soil health, growing food and safeguarding our streams and rivers.
January 14, 2016
With the increasing demand worldwide for farm products and the growing pressure that places on our lands and waters, we need to embrace collaboration and innovation.
December 30, 2015
The health of our nation’s economy and people are directly tied to the decisions we make in managing the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
June 2, 2014
Notre Dame findings estimate that nearly 600 pounds of nitrogen are cleaned out of the river annually by every acre of floodplain that is restored.
August 10, 2011
Like sequels to a bad zombie movie, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico keeps coming back every summer.
The partners are working to empower farmers with the conservation tools they need to grow bountiful crops while improving the health of our waters.
Targeted approach to improving water quality in the Pecatonica River watershed resulted in 55 percent decrease in phosphorus in stream during storm events.
Read this Q&A with IA Conservation Director Susanne Hickey to find out.
Leading economics, finance and policy experts collaborated with conservation practitioners to find solutions for improved agricultural and river management practices in the Mississippi Basin over the next five years.
PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
Watch videos that show how sustainable farming is improving water quality.
The United Nations Environment Program and cartoonist Jim Toomey explain how fertilizer runoff can cause dead zones in our rivers and oceans.
Watch this video and learn how the dead zone is formed every year in the Gulf.