River Citizens Unite!

The beautiful Mississippi plays many roles in our lives.

By Annette Anderson

Did you know the Mississippi River is a crucial source of drinking water for over 18 million people?  From Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River is not only a critical source of drinking water, but also an important part of our heritage, the backbone of our economy and a diverse habitat for wildlife. 

Our country’s mightiest river has a powerful impact on our lives and we collectively have an impact on it as well. In fact, actions we take between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians (that’s 40% of the country!) affect the River’s water quality, wildlife and people downstream.  

Unfortunately, the once mighty Mississippi is in trouble. Pollution has caused our great River to decline, and loss of the River’s wetlands has River communities more vulnerable to severe weather. That’s why for the last five years the only national campaign for the River, 1 Mississippi, has been growing a movement of people who share the responsibility to act as caretakers of the big River. This group of “River Citizens” is making River-friendly choices every day, like selecting native plants for their yards, attending River cleanups or demanding more thoughtful policy from local and national officials. River Citizens are challenging and changing the way their communities view the River and their ability to influence its future. 

To support River Citizens all along the River, 1 Mississippi shares the best science available on issues like pollution, flooding and invasive species, and helps people understand how they can make an impact on these issues in their daily lives. The campaign is supported by the Mississippi River Network, a group of nearly 50 organizations all working on River issues. Network members implement the national campaign locally by making River Events easier to find, speaking about the issues facing the River and sharing ways people can take action in their own lives. So far, over 13,000 River Citizens have pledged to act as caretakers of the River.

Mississippi Park Connection (formerly the Mississippi River Fund) is active in the Mississippi River Network, as are a number of other Minnesotan organizations like Friends of the Mississippi River, the River Life Partnership at the University of Minnesota and the only national park on the River, the National Mississippi River & Recreation Area

If you are interested in connecting to a variety of local River events and becoming a caretaker of the Mighty Mississippi, join in the fun and become a River Citizen at an event or online at 1mississippi.org. There are already nearly 2,000 River Citizens in Minnesota; can the River count on you too?

Can the River count on you?