Ways to help the Mississippi River

[Photo: A volunteer plants plants.]

Volunteering at a planting event or other restoration activity is one way to help the Mississippi River. Learn more about our volunteer programs and upcoming events in our Get Involved! section.

There are a variety of things you can do to help the Mississippi River, many that can be done in your own backyard or community.

  • Get to know the river and share your knowledge with others. A river birding outing or paddling trip is a great way to learn about the river.
  • Volunteer for a stewardship event at the river or a local stream. Get active for the river at a tree planting, buckthorn removal or litter pickup and feel great about making a difference.
  • Plant native species in your yard and garden. Native plants support native birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Non-native species can spread to natural areas along the river and choke out native species and the animals that depend on them.
  • Compost or bag your leaves and grass clippings so they stay out of storm drains. Organic yard waste clogs storm drains and adds excess nutrients to lakes and streams. The result is cloudy water and algae blooms, which are harmful to fish and other aquatic life.
  • Use zero-phosphorus fertilizer on your lawn and follow application directions. Phosphorus has become such a problem in our waterways that the State of Minnesota passed a law banning its use on lawns in the metro area.
  • Pick up after your pets and remind others to do the same. Pet waste contains harmful bacteria that threatens our waters and makes them unswimmable. Even if you live far from water, the storm drains carry these contaminants to the river.
  • Find out where your local officials stand on river protection issues. Call, write or visit with those who represent you in government. These are the people who make big decisions about laws and funding for river protection and restoration.
  • Respond to a River Action Alert by taking a stand, writing a letter or attending a meeting. Advocacy for an important river issue can really help and shows that citizens know and care about the river.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, April 29, 2023 - 9:00am to 11:00am
Hastings Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area
Saturday, May 13, 2023 - 9:00am to 11:00am
Nicollet Island, Minneapolis
Applications due Fri, May 5 - 5 pm
Virtual and in-person